Swinney Believes Clemson Offense is the Best Ever
CLEMSON — Every week it seems that head coach Dabo Swinney steps to the podium for a post game press conference he is able to list off another new set of records being set by the 2019 Clemson offense.
"Offensively, we played outstanding," Swinney said. "We had five touchdown drives of at least 75 yards. Our communication was really good up front. We had no turnovers and that's three games in a row. We had a lot of great individual plays. Our quarterback continues to play at a high level as well as our offensive line. We did have too many penalties and a couple offsides in the second half and some drops.
"Really played well all-in-all. We had a school record 55 points three games in a row and that has never happened. What we have been able to do running and passing ... it hasn't happened since I've been a head coach."
When asked where the 2019 team ranks in the list of great offenses that Clemson has had, Swinney stated that this group is easily the most dynamic one he has had the opportunity to coach.
"Probably, yeah, I mean, this bunch is doing some things that like I said have never been done. The balance is amazing," Swinney said. "We've rushed the ball 200-plus yards five in a row. I mean, 11 years as a head coach and we've never done that. We just have a lot of balance in what we do, and again 55 points three in a row, 45 points five in a row, never been done. Think about all the good offenses we've had over the last nine, 10 years around here. This is a really dynamic group."
While many may point to the play of quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who has thrown for three touchdown passes in each of the last five games — a school record, or running back Travis Etienne, who is closing in on being the greatest running back in school history or an uber-talented wide receiving corps, Swinney believes that the Tigers' success starts upfront.
"Our offensive line is leading the way," Swinney said. "Doing a great job protecting, we had a sack yesterday that wasn't on our OL that was an RPO and kind of fooled Trevor with the cover and he held the ball and they triggered a Sam late and they got us, so kind of chalk that up to the defense. But they have really protected the quarterback well, and done a great job for our backs.
"Our ability to be explosive, inside and out, is really what has made us dynamic. Our receiver depth, the playmaking ability there, the explosiveness at running back."
The one place where Swinney believes that the Tigers are not getting the credit they deserve is at the quarterback position.
In Saturday's 55-10 win over NC State, Lawrence became the first Clemson quarterback to throw three touchdown passes in five consecutive games, has thrown a touchdown pass in 20 consecutive games, adding to the longest active streak in the country and passed Charlie Whitehurst (59) for fourth in school history in career total touchdown responsibility.
"Trevor's ability to run and throw the football so effectively," Swinney said. "I mean, he had a career high rushing. He's really not gotten the credit that he deserves. He has been awesome. And the numbers that he has put up has been amazing. Then again, I think he's only played in one fourth quarter all year. Maybe a little bit in the fourth quarter of A&M, but not much."
As any coach does, however, Swinney did not want to take any of the credit for his team's offensive explosion this season. Instead, he chose to credit co-offensive coordinators Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott, as well as the players preparation.
"Just really proud of what these guys have been able to do. Tony and Jeff have done an awesome job, the rest of our staff and so I think that we need to continue to work hard," Swinney said. "We want to keep it up and have a strong finish. But I'm super proud of them. I think we've been 128-7 in the first quarter and I think that's speaks to the readiness of our guys, the preparation of our staff and our ability to play complimentary football."