Tony Elliott: Clemson Using ‘Same Play Book’ They Always Have

Clemson’s offense has been called everything from overly simplified, to archaic this season.

Offensive coordinator Tony Elliott has caught a lot of flack over the horrid play and lack of output by the Tigers offense. Though there seemed to be a little improvement in areas Friday night there still was no explosion like Clemson teams in the past have been known for.

Some former players, most notably Cornell Powell, have voiced their concerns about the offense. Powell even let his feelings be known via Twitter during the game Friday night when he posted his concerns about the Tigers play book being scaled back with DJ Uiagalelei and their running of the QB power. Former QB Tucker Israel responded to the tweet saying that it doesn’t matter with the offensive line being what it is.

On Monday the question was asked whether the playbook is possibly scaled down some compared to recent seasons and Elliott made it clear that it was the same and explained what they were trying to accomplish with it.

“It’s the same play book, for the most part,” Elliott told the media on Monday. “Obviously, each week, the passing game is going to be different. Syracuse was different from the standpoint that they were going to give you the hitches. They were going to give you the short stuff. The corners were going to bail. Alright? Or they were going to have a spy player or a rat player in the middle of the field.“

He also went on to explain that it has been limited at times and what the players have to do for the plays to work.

“So some of it was limited,” Elliott said. “And then we got them in some man situations, and we got some one-on-ones. But just in response to those guys, it’s the same playbook. But right now you can’t throw everything on the table when you’re trying to get and establish an identity and get these guys in a rhythm. We knew we were going to run the ball. We knew we wanted to run the ball. And I thought from an effectiveness standpoint we did run the ball.”

With most teams the Tigers have faced choosing to take away the throws down the field, a heavier emphasis has been put on the running game. With two inexperienced backs and a less than stellar offensive line, Elliott and the rest of the staff have decided to rely more heavily on the short passing game to help out the ground game.

“Everyone talks about the rushing output, but there were a lot of RPOs,” he stated. ”The first play of the game, that’s a called run to RPO. If they’re going to play that overhang defender tied to the box and have seven, we’re going to throw the hitch and get nine yards. So that’s kind of been the extension of the run game. It’s the same playbook. And as the guys really get going and we get our depth back, then maybe we can open it up a little bit more. But the biggest thing is guys got to make plays. They complete those plays down the field, I think it’s a different ballgame.”

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