When looking back, co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott feels he could have done a better job in Clemson’s loss to Syracuse on Oct. 13.
The Tigers’ playcaller said he could have called things a little differently or maybe helped in other ways to knock Syracuse’s defense back a little bit. The offense struggled to get into any rhythm offensively in the loss and got away from a running game that saw Tavien Feaster and Travis Etienne average more than 10 yards per carry.
“I felt like I could have helped the guys, especially with some snap count things and trying to slow those guys down,” Elliott said. “Also, just finding ways to get back in the rhythm, and trying to find the run-game that was going to give us those five-six-seven-yard gains so we can stay ahead of the chains.
“Also, I took a couple chances trying to get to the perimeter that cost us some (tackles for loss) and anytime we get behind the chains it’s hard to overcome that so really focusing on myself and making sure that I’m getting into a rhythm a little quicker into the game to help those guys out.”
Georgia Tech is a rival? Though Clemson has been playing Georgia Tech since 1898, few people think of the Tigers and Yellow Jackets as rivals. But there is some bad blood there.
Georgia Tech stole legendary head coach John Heisman from Clemson following the Tigers’ 73-0 win over the ‘Jackets in 1903.
It also did not help that Georgia Tech had a little bit of an ego problem and refused to play the Tigers in Clemson for many years. The two teams finally met for the first time in Death Valley in 1974 and the Tigers won the game, 21-17.
Since Georgia Tech started playing in the ACC in 1983 no game in the conference has been more competitive than the Clemson-Georgia Tech game. In the 35 meetings since then, Clemson has an 18-17 edge in the series with 17 of those games being decided by seven points or less.
The Tigers have won five of the last seven in the series. But before that, Tech had won seven of the previous nine.
“Not many people talk about it, but this rivalry is a big game,” Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant said. “We are so close to each other. Right down the road from each other so a lot of people on both sides are going to be looking at this game… it’s going to be a good one.”
Etienne is healthy. Clemson running back Travis Etienne said his hamstring is fine and he will be ready to play Saturday. The freshman said he tweaked his hamstring during a kickoff return early in the Syracuse game.
So when he ran 52 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, Etienne said his hamstring was already hurting.
Elliott was also asked how Etienne’s hamstring injury was progressing.
“As far as I know he’s been good,” the Clemson coach said. “We didn’t have to limit him in practice. Obviously when you’re dealing with a guy like that, sometimes they feel things throughout the course of the game, but didn’t see any issues throughout the course of the week with him.”
Tigers needed rest. Running back Adam Choice said he would’ve preferred to play this past weekend to “shake off” the loss to Syracuse. However the bye came at a great time physically as their bodies needed the extra rest.
“Mentally, I would’ve liked to play (this past weekend),” Choice said. “But some guys on the team were just talking about how our bodies needed some rest, some time to recover, some extra time in the cold tub and stuff like that.
“So it kind of came at a good time physically but mentally to shake the loss would’ve been something we would’ve liked to have happened but it doesn’t work that way. It just gives us extra reason to go out and play even harder.”
The Tigers and Georgia Tech will kick things off at 8 p.m. on Saturday in Death Valley.