The Tigers are facing an injury crisis unlike anything the program has experienced in the Dabo Swinney era. Maybe ever.
Is the attrition due to poor strength and conditioning this year, more strict stipulations following Covid, just bad luck, or a combination of all of that?
While Clemson continues to try to find answers and ways to get themselves in position to at least become bowl eligible in a disappointing season, they also are having to steer through unchartered waters while doing that.
Everyone knows about issues with the offense. The offensive line problems, DJ Uiagalelei missing targets, and the receivers dropping the passes that Uiagalelei has been on the money with. But there’s another issue that has plagued this team as a whole this year like no other during their playoff run.
The issue of the dreaded injury bug. Last season the Clemson football program did endure a number of injuries at key positions, but even that didn’t compare to what they have gone through this year in just seven games. A massive blow to a team that has prided itself on being “too deep.”
Proof that being stacked with four and five stars is great but they are no help if the said stack is injured and can’t play. Even the assistant athletic director for football communications at Clemson, Ross Taylor, pointed out that the Tigers have faced more than a little attrition this year. And this list doesn’t include guys playing through injury. Guys like Tre Williams.
As if it wasn’t bad enough already, Clemson now loses running back Kobe Pace this week due to Covid protocol. The one thing that helps out here is the fact that fellow rusher Will Shipley’s injury wasn’t any worse and he was able to return against Pitt. They also get receiver Joseph Ngata back out of Covid protocol, which should help the depleted receivers out against Florida State this week.
At this point, the questions going into games become will the offense score more than 21 points finally and how many players could they be without at the end of the game. The Tigers are not the first team to be ravaged by injuries and they definitely won’t be the last in this sport, but like many other issues this season, it gives the Clemson fanbase even more reason to be thankful for the ride they’ve been able to enjoy.
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