The Clemson Tiger offense has shown flashes of greatness through their first two games, namely in the downfield passing game.
Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei found wide receiver Joseph Ngata in the opener against Georgia. Then against S.C. State it was a bevy of Tiger receivers that exploited a weak secondary.
However, it is not the downfield passing game that has the coaching staff looking for more production, it is the horizontal routes.
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Shipley finished the afternoon with 132 yards on 15 carries, including an 11-yard touchdown in the third quarter that gave the Tigers a 30-21 lead at the time. The sophomore averaged 8.8 yards per carry, as the Gamecocks had very little answer for the Clemson running back.
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“I think the two games may not have provided much opportunity for that,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “This past game, we wanted to establish the downhill run. As we're going forward, we'll find more ways to pick some of that up.”
The Tigers have lacked the crossing routes and jet-sweep motions that were the staple of former wide receivers Hunter Renfrow and Amari Rogers.
However, the fans need not worry, the Tigers are simply taking what the defense is giving them—utilizing the running backs to get the defense going sideline-to-sideline rather than using a receiver. This is because it is not only the offenses that progress and adapt to defenses.
"I think also, too, we made a commitment to hand the ball to the backs and get them to the outside, so that has kind of supplemented some of the jet sweep stuff we've done in the past,” Swinney said. “A lot of our base run was between the tackles, downhill, two-back oriented and we would use that as supplement to get that ball on the outside, but as we've progressed, defenses have progressed and we've had to transition some of that to our outside run game, and I thought we did a good job with the opportunities we had this past week of trying to get the ball on the edge."