Four games into the 2021 season and the Clemson offense is still searching for its identity.
A portion of the fan base is convinced that either offensive coordinator Tony Elliott has suddenly forgotten how to coach or that the game is starting to pass him by.
ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, one of the more respected voices in the sport, thinks that is absurd.
“I’ve heard people question Tony Elliott or the scheme,” Herbstreit said during Monday’s ESPN College Football Podcast. “Give me a break. Are you kidding me? Everybody is bragging about Tony Elliott and that scheme for years, and all of a sudden, three weeks it’s not looking good, and they say, ‘Well, Tony Elliott, that’s a high school scheme.’ Shut up. What are you talking about?”
Herbstreit points to the more obvious when trying to explain the struggles the Tigers are currently having.
“To me, the offensive line last year wasn’t great,” Herbstreit said. “The offensive line this year is not great. Now you put yourself, without a running quarterback, in a real bind when you can’t run the ball.”
The longtime ESPN analyst also thinks quarterback DJ Uiagalelei is developing at a slower pace than most expected.
“It feels like, with DJ, the game is moving really fast,” Herbstreit said. “Sometimes we say about a veteran quarterback, ‘The game looks like it’s moving slow. He’s played 30 games. It’s like he has the answers to every question.’ Then you’ve got a young quarterback who has the physical ability, and he looks indecisive. He’s looks hesitant every time he’s back there throwing. Unless the primary is open and he can put his foot in the ground and throw, you take his primary away, he starts going into panic mode.”
While Herbstreit thinks there are a combination of things factoring into Clemson’s inability to be successful on the offensive side of the ball, the one think he is sure of is that the Tigers offensive coordinator isn’t part of the problem.
“So you combine a young quarterback that’s still trying to see it with an offensive line and running game that isn’t there, and they’re back at the drawing board right now. It’s bigger than just these first few weeks.”
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