D.J. Uiagalelei hasn't backed down from shouldering a load of the blame for No. 25 Clemson's offensive problems during this 2-2 start to the 2021 season.
The Tigers' starting quarterback remained vigilant in that message Monday, following a 27-21 loss at NC State. Clemson totaled just 214 yards and scored 14 points in regulation of the double-overtime defeat.
But Uiagalelei keeps pointing at himself and his teammates, concurring with head coach Dabo Swinney that it's about execution. When asked Monday about the criticism that's followed Clemson offensive coordinator and playcaller Tony Elliott, the quarterback took a strong stance.
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"I think it all needs to stop," Uiagalelei said. "Coach Elliott, he's definitely not the problem. It all starts with us. Coach Elliott is the best offensive coordinator in football. I'm going to stand by it. I love that guy. The amount of work he puts in every week, day in and day out, it's unbelievable and I'll ride with Tony Elliott until the day I die. I've got full confidence Coach Elliott."
The Tigers have yet to find any real offensive rhythm, ranking last in the ACC in yards per game. Following a fantastic 5-play, 80-yard scoring drive in the first quarter at NC State, Clemson didn't pick up another first down until the fourth quarter, leaving nothing but questions as to why one of college football's perennially strong scoring attacks can figure it out.
"I think it starts with us players," Uiagalelei said. "(Elliott) puts us in the right positions. We've just got to go make him right. I don't think it's anything that Coach Elliott's doing. He's not calling the wrong plays or anything like that. I think he's been doing a tremendous job just like he has the last couple of years. It's just the execution part. We've got to go out and execute for him."
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