Clemson is going to be sitting at home Saturday while other teams are in action thanks to a bye week.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s a time to sit around and do nothing. You should take advantage of the extra time to get off your feet and take a break, but if anything, it provides ample opportunity to examine the areas you went wrong in the first part of the year so you’re able to correct them.
Clemson looked to be in good shape this time last week, but another injury to quarterback Kelly Bryant coupled with a head-scratching loss to Syracuse shook things up a bit. Teams always have issues they need to correct, and the list can be long, but here are three things Clemson needs to take care of as the bye week wraps up and the Tigers begin preparation for Georgia Tech.
I touched on it a bit earlier, but the injury list for Clemson isn’t insignificant. It starts with Bryant, who was gimpy in the first half against Syracuse while he tried to play on the rolled left ankle he suffered the week before against Wake Forest, and his concussion at the end of the second quarter complicated things.
The Tigers need him healthy and ready. Their offense not only dips without him, it becomes ineffective. Mark Fields, A.J. Terrell and Travis Etienne all suffered injuries against Syracuse too, and they’re also vital. Clemson needs all hands on deck now that the margin for error has become almost nonexistent.
Figure out the kicking situation
This one’s been beaten to death already, but it bears repeating simply because of how crucial it is. Clemson’s problems kicking field goals without Greg Huegel are unavoidable, and the Tigers have been examining their options to determine the best course of action.
Whether they’re going to stick with Alex Spence or give consideration to Christian Groomes — or even Drew Costa, who’s being brought on with a ‘kick-by-kick’ contract, as Dabo Swinney put it — Clemson has to solve whatever’s going on there. They can’t afford to be in a position where a field goal would preserve a win and keep playoff hopes alive, only to fall short.
Identify how to stop dual-threat quarterbacks
The two games where opposing offenses have performed the best against Clemson’s defense this year have both occurred when the opponent’s quarterback was a threat to throw and run. Lamar Jackson and Louisville scored 21 points — Jackson threw for 317 yards and ran for 64 more, but the Cardinals’ defense was leaky enough to where Clemson could easily outscore them.
And we all know what happened against Syracuse. Eric Dungey carved up the Tigers defense for 278 yards, and he picked up 61 yards on the ground. For whatever reason, Clemson’s defense has trouble containing quarterbacks that aren’t limited to being pocket passers.It doesn’t get any easier, because Clemson’s first game after the break is against Georgia Tech, and TaQuon Marshall is just as potent. Granted, the Yellow Jackets run an option offense where passing is limited, but the threat is there.
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