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August 16, 2013

Looking at Clemson - Offense

I've been spending time looking at stats and one thing I can't get my head around: Who is going to be on offense for Clemson besides Taj Boyd and Sammy Watkins?

Give a look see at Clemson's offensive production from last year.*
NameYrPosGRussh YardsPass YardsPlaysTotal YardsYards/PlayYards/G
1Tajh BoydJRQB13514389661344107.19339.2
2Andre EllingtonSRRB131081021210815.1083.2
3Roderick McDowellJRRB134500834505.4234.6
4Cole StoudtSOQB855207492625.3532.8
5Sammy WatkinsSOWR109752161499.3114.9

So look at that. Andre Ellington was the leading rusher. As it stands, Rod McDowell looks to step into the role Ellington played last year. Tyshon Dye and DJ Howard will also get some of those touches. Without that running game, Clemson's passing game becomes pretty predictable.

The bigger question is can Georgia shut down Watkins and...who? Their top receiver in 2012 was DeAndre Hopkins, who is in the league. They also lost their number 3 and 4 receivers to graduation. I have no doubt Humphries and whomever they plug in at TE will be good, but how much of Boyd's passing yards in 2012 were a product of having the second receiver taken in the 2013 draft to throw to? Does it matter that half of Boyd's passing yards and TDs, as well as a third of his complete passes thrown now reside in Houston? 

Watkins certainly showed promise after a stellar freshman year. However 2012 was a difficult year for him. He got hurt in the bowl game. He faced off field issues. He didn't sneak up on folks. He certainly should be better in 2013 than he was in 2012, but will he be that much better with Clemson's offense having to also break in a new running back?

We keep hearing about this game being a shoot out. We keep hearing about Georgia's defense needing to mature in a hurry. I'm not so sure that is the case. Looking at Clemson loosing 2/3 of their receiving yards and a higher percentage of their running back production, I think the defense needs to be solid, but basically has to keep Clemson from getting the home run play. Yes, we have plenty of questions on defense, but do we have so many questions that a retooling Clemson offense is just going waltz up and down the field on us?

Because that is what most national football folks think.

To me the key is creating some pressure, keeping Boyd behind the line of scrimmage, and Watkins from being free behind the D. Does some of that happy talk out of Georgia's camp about the DBs make you feel better? I'm not sold on the happy talk, but it'll be interesting to see Clemson' approach with all the new faces.
* Stats from


Trey said...

It sounds like Clemson doesn't have anyone to plug in at TE. They have a pure blocker or a pure receiver, but nobody that can do both at one of their most important positions because of its versatility.

Hopkins wasn't just their top receiving threat. He was a guy that you could get the ball to even when everyone knew he was getting the ball. Even if Sammy can replicate that level of production, they are relying on talented, but (as of yet) marginally productive guys to fill Watkins's shoes. I just don't' see anyone commanding the kind of attention and game-planning that he did last year. They are also super thin at WR. They have 7 guys on scholarship, so running 4 WR sets without anyone to play TE could also be a factor.

TylerDawgden said...

I glossed over that because their best TE is out with an injury. He's the one that is most likely to step up and be the outlet guy to keep the LBs honest. If they go with the other guy, he's essentially a third tackle, which means we can bring more pressure from the weak side or allow someone to drop underneath coverage and also greendog Boyd.

That is a win/win for us.

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