Despite being 5-0 and ranked second in the nation, Clemson has not played its best game, yet. Granted the Tigers have looked good in reeling off five victories to start the 2017 season, but they have not always looked good in doing it.
In this past Saturday’s win at Virginia Tech, the Tigers totaled 271 yards and scored 17 points in the opening half. However, it was a different story in the second half as they managed just 61 yards and seven points.
“I think this still is a young group,” co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said on Monday. “We are still building this chemistry every day in practice, every single game that we play. The good thing is that we have been challenged early in the season so I think we know what kind of character we have.”
Clemson has been challenged by some of the best teams in college football, at least according to the Associated Press. The Tigers became the first team in the history of college football to win three games over top 15 ranked opponents in the month of September.
During that stretch, which also included blowout wins over Kent State and Boston College, the offense had its ups and downs.
It struggled against Auburn’s nationally ranked defense, but found just enough offense to get the job done. It was the exact opposite against Louisville as they tallied 613 yards and scored 47 points. Then against the Hokies they had a great first half, but struggled to execute at times in the second half.
“We are still young,” Elliott said. “There are a lot of things we can improve upon. (The Virginia Tech game) is going to be great film for us to coach off of. Obviously, coming out of it statistically, we are not where we are used to being, but we did what we needed to do to win the game so there is a positive there.
“They went into a hostile environment and did not turn the ball over so they have the making of being a very strong unit, but we still have to go back to work.”
Elliott said there is a lot of work to be done, and he looks at his own unit as an example. He feels his running backs can do more than they have done to this point.
“We have to play better without the ball,” he said. “I think when we get the ball, and we get opportunities, we do a good job, but we can be more physical without the ball. We can really impact the game.”
Elliott says each coach has something to coach off of, and it’s only going to make them better because of it.
“It is kind of like 2015, where we kind of built, built and built,” he said. “I think we kind of get compared a lot to last year in 2016. But that was an offense that had two years of chemistry and continuity together. Where this is a unit that is kind of stepping on the scene, and with each game I think we are going to get better.”