After watching film of the game against Troy, Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said on Monday that he saw many plays on offense where 10 players did what they were supposed to do, but one player made a mistake.
“To be successful on offense, all 11 guys have to do their job,” Scott said, “and that was kind of the story of the afternoon.”
In many cases, the one player who didn’t do his job was a receiver.
Clemson’s receiving corps dropped eight passes in the contest — eight passes that would have gone for a total of at least 178 yards, not counting yards after the catch, according to Scott.
“If we just make those catches, that’s 178 yards added to the offense, and it’s a completely different picture,” Scott said.
Clemson’s coaching staff charts drops each day in practice, and Scott said it hasn’t been a problem. In fact, about a week before the Auburn game, Scott felt the quarterbacks and receivers were throwing and catching the ball as well as they have in his eight years at Clemson.
Scott said it’s a matter of translating that performance in practice into production in games.
“There’s a difference between doing it on the practice field, and getting out there on the game field and doing it,” Scott said.
In order to make that happen, the receivers are trying to approach practices, meetings and walk-throughs this week with a higher level of focus and intensity.
“Everybody knows we could have done better because we set a higher standard for ourselves as a receiver group,” Cain said on Monday. “We just have to get our focus level (up) and practice a little bit more on the little things and not just the bigger things, and that’s basically it.”
Scott isn’t concerned about the ability of his receivers to catch the ball. To him, drops are simply a product of a lack of focus and intensity in both practices and games.
“I think it just comes down to the focus of being ready for their moment and not taking those things for granted,” Scott said. “I think that’s what we’ll really be focusing on this week.”
Scott said he will emphasize a few areas where the receivers can improve from a technical standpoint, such as attacking the ball and not waiting for it to come to them.
At the same time, though, he doesn’t want to make too big of a deal out of the drops.
He knows what his group is capable of, and he just wants to see a better level of preparation in practice and execution in games.
“It’s kind of like a hitter that’s in a slump,” Scott said. “If you beat them over the head with it 24-7, then it kind of creates a negative image, and that’s not what we want to do.
“I think if they approach it with a little bit better focus in practice, a little bit more intensity in practice and walk-throughs and meetings, all those little things will add up. That’s what we’ll be focusing on to get that corrected.”