Baby steps. That’s where we are with this Clemson offense at the moment.
Let’s face it, most of us expected a seamless transition, despite the Tigers losing Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell. That was pretty much all of the production on the offensive side of the ball from a season ago and the only two wideouts D.J. Uiagalelei had any real in-game experience working with.
While this group certainly has the pieces in place to be an explosive offense, maybe to much was expected to fast. Either way, Saturday will provide the Tigers an opportunity to take another step forward on that side of the ball.
Clemson has now won six straight over Georgia Tech, and the Tigers have also won a school record 29 straight at home. To keep those streaks intact, the Tigers need to do what they did last week. Make a concerted effort to run the ball, and in the process take some of the pressure off of Uiagalelei.
This Georgia Tech defense hasn’t been what you could call stout when it comes to stopping the run. Northern Illinois and Kennesaw State were both able to run the ball on the Yellow Jackets, meaning the Tigers should be able to as well.
It would help to have Lyn-J Dixon find his way out of the coaches doghouse so he can be a key piece of this offense. Not to mention providing that valuable on-field leadership to Will Shipley and Kobe Pace, neither of who have much experience.
Either way, expect Clemson to come out trying to run the ball. The Tigers had issues at times running against lesser teams last season, with Etienne, so Saturday will be a good indicator of exactly where this offensive line is. If they can’t run against the Yellow Jackets… well let’s just say that won’t be good.
Uiagalelei doesn’t appear to be quite ready to be THE guy on offense. He needs help. From the running game, the receivers, and most importantly the coaching staff. He needs to be put in situations that set him up for early success.
Having said all that, Brent Venables defense is playing so well it might not matter. Clemson has yet to allow an opponent to reach the end zone in the first two games. The last time they kept three straight from scoring a touchdown was in 1990. The last time they did it to start the season was 1950.
With starting quarterback Jeff Simms dealing with an injury, Yellow Jackets head coach Geoff Collins is refusing to name a starting quarterback. Simms might be back, he might not be. It won’t matter. This Clemson defensive line is just to good and with to much depth. The Tigers can go two-deep at every position up front with little to no drop off in production.
Not only is the defensive line playing extremely well, the backend of this defense has been outstanding in their own right. While they haven’t been tested down the field very much just yet, they have still been good defending the short passing game. No one is even looking Andrew Booth Jr’s way. They have been just as good against the run.
It’s hard to imagine this Georgia Tech offense having very much success on Saturday. The biggest question might be whether they can reach the end zone. I’m saying no, they do not.
Uiagalelei and the offense might not light up the scoreboard the way Clemson did against this Georgia Tech team last season, but they will take another step forward and the ground game will be there.
Clemson 34 Georgia Tech 6
Sam: This team is just beginning to gel, it’s not last year’s team but who knows where they’ll be at the of the season. From the offense, I’m looking for more accuracy downfield from DJ and the development of a rhythm with his stable of wide receivers. I’m hoping to see Lyn-J emerge from the “love shack” and finally lead these talented young backs. Georgia Tech is an unknown quantity but unfortunately for them, their lack of quality talent is fully known. I believe the Tigers will have their way with the Yellow Jackets on Saturday and it won’t even be close.
Clemson 49 Georgia Tech 6
Freddie: The Tigers defense will continue to show their dominance, while the offense keeps working on getting better as the coaches try to get DJ Uiagalelei back to the form he showed in two starts last season. Something else to watch will be whether Lyn-J Dixon can finally get himself out of C.J. Spiller’s doghouse long enough to help the team. Unfortunately for Georgia Tech, they come to Death Valley at a time when Clemson wants to prove they belong in the top five and will realize really quick that they are still in rebuild mode.
Clemson 47 Georgia Tech 7
Ted: Dabo gave Georgia Tech a ton of credit for the job they’ve done in getting away from an outdated offensive scheme. That being said, Georgia Tech is nowhere near the talent level of Clemson, and the score will be closer to that of an FBS opponent. Clemson will gash them early and often.
Clemson 49 Georgia Tech 10
Nathan: The offense still has a few woes but continues to get better and continues to respond well to being coached up by the staff. The defense continues to roll but allows their first touchdown of the season. Special teams continues to dominate. Unless the game is surpsingly still close at halftime, expect backups to start rolling in early with the starters being completely out shortly by the midway point of the third quarter.
Clemson 35 Georgia Tech 17
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