"I'll ride with five until it's over." Those were the words from fifth-year senior offensive lineman Matt Bockhorst on Monday.
D.J. Uiagalelei and the Clemson offense have gotten off to a shockingly slow start and with each passing week, the criticisms grow a little louder. However, listening to Bockhorst, it's just outside noise and inside the locker room, there is no doubt about Uiagalelei. Knowing his teammates have his back is comforting for the starting quarterback.
"It means the world," Uiagalelei said on Monday when informed of Bockhorst's remarks. "Matt Bockhorst, leader of the offensive line. The center. To be able to hear that said that about me, means a lot coming from a senior. This is his fifth year, his last hurrah. So to be able to hear that from somebody like Matt Bockhorst and seeing how much work he puts in for himself, it's amazing. I appreciate that."
At the same time, Uiagalelei admitted he is disappointed in the slow start, as Clemson's passing attack has struggled mightily through the season's first three games. Uiagalelei is hitting on just 59 percent of his throws and averaging just 5.5 yards per attempt. Both of those numbers rank dead last in the ACC, which Uiagalelei said is frustrating considering the amount of talent the Tigers have on the offensive side of the ball.
"Definitely I'm frustrated," Uiagalelei said. "We know the caliber of offense we have. The type of weapons that we have. Just to know what we want to be as an offense. We want to be better than we have been but at the end of the day, I mean it is what it is. The only way you can go is up. Just continue to work to get back out into there. Take it day by day and just focus each and every day. Learn from work, learn from our past and just look to the future."
Clemson Tigers' Midseason Superlatives
Clemson football has reached the halfway point of the season, so it's time to highlight big-time players and big plays from the 2021 season thus far.
Narduzzi Says Clemson Defense Will Provide Pitt Offense With Biggest Challenge to Date
Pitt head coach talks about the No. 21 Panthers upcoming matchup at Heinz Field against the Clemson Tigers.
'Outside Noise' Taking a Toll on Clemson Offense
It is not only the offense that has struggled, but apparently, the entire team has struggled–with the distractions of the media and fans that have been calling out their poor performance.
Uiagalelei said one of the biggest issues the Tigers have faced so far this season, is getting the success they have at practice to translate onto the field and he's hopeful that will happen this week in Raleigh as Clemson faces North Carolina State.
"The stuff we're doing at practice, we gotta be able to translate to the game," Uiagalelei said. "And it goes as well for me and everybody. But for the most part, like our practices have been solid. Great practices. We just haven't translated it to the game. Definitely look forward to this week. Translate a great week of practice with preparation and just take it to the game against NC State."
Although, late in Saturday's 14-8 win over Georgia Tech, the Clemson offense looked a little different. The Tigers started using Uiagalelei in the running game, something they had not done much of up to that point.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound quarterback finished the night with close to 50 rushing yards and picked up multiple first downs in key situations. At one point Uiagalelei could be seen emphatically pumping his fist, one of the few times the young quarterback has shown his emotions on the field this season and he's hopeful that's a trend that continues.
"Running the ball gets me fired up," Uiagalelei said. "Kind of gets me going. Kind of gets me into the game. Helps settle me down. I like feeling contact, like getting hit. Running the ball is just something different. It gets me in a different type mood."
Want to join in on the discussion? 100% FREE! Interact with fellow Tiger fans and hear directly from publisher Zach Lentz, deputy editor Brad Senkiw and recruiting analyst Jason Priester on any subject. Click here to become a member of the ALL CLEMSON message board community today!