Fundamental Offensive Change Might Be Key to Tigers Success In 2022

In a previous article on the 2023 draft , I mentioned the huge talent and depth that might be lost next draft day. It was troubling but that’s 2023 not 2022. They’ll all be here in the fall and I see great results being not just a possibility but an absolute probability.

One group mentioned was the running backs, with one possible draftee, Kobe Pace. This young group figures to be a prominent piece in this change. With the unanswered questions that surround the quarterback position, one can see an accentuated use of the run to lead this offense. At best, it would likely take some of the pressure off the quarterbacks early in the season allowing whatever is to happen, happen. At best, it could create a pronounced, powerful, two-pronged attack leaving the opposing defensives constantly off balance.

Clemson has always had a running game, a quite good one but there’s more that can be done, especially in 2022. With three horses in the Tigers stable, this fundamental shift, giving the run more prominence, could absolutely be the catalyst for another championship run.

It’s understandable, there’s no way that Brandon Streeter is going to abandon the passing game, that’s preposterous. But having a run heavy offensive scheme seems to make sense. The old saying is if you’ve got it, flaunt it and in 2022, whether through luxury and/or necessity, Dabo Swinney’s got it.

Will Shipley had a good freshman year despite multiple injuries, one that required off-season surgery. In 2021, he had 739 yds in 149 attempts and 11 TD with an average 5 yards per carry. He also had 116 yds receiving on 16 attempts. He has a commanding, driven presence in the backfield. Those that have watched this young man develop have grown comfortable in hearing ‘Shipley has the ball.’ The sky is the limit in 2022 for the sophomore back.

Kobe Pace had an equally impressive 2021. Like Shipley, Pace played an abbreviated season due to a nagging toe injury, ultimately requiring postseason surgery but still managed to impress onlookers. He had 651 yds in 104 attempts averaging 6.2 yds per carry and 6 touchdowns. If he remains healthy, he could be yet another reason this fundamental shift could work.

After Phil Mafah’s emergence this spring, that clinches the deal. Looking at it from every angle, it’s a no brainer.

There is little downside and the upside is huge. Don’t misunderstand the purpose of this article. It’s not an abandonment of the passing game, when healthy, the quarterback is the integral cog in any offense and when the dust settles on the who, what, how of the position, this offense could be extremely effective.

Maybe the term ‘fundamental offensive changes’ was a bit much but when this offense is clicking on all cylinders those changes, fundamental or otherwise, will be apparent to all and will propel Clemson back to the top. It’s not a matter of if but when. All hope that when comes quickly.

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