Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott does not seem to be too worried about the fourth-ranked Tigers lack of big plays in the passing game.
In Clemson’s win over NC State this past Saturday, Kelly Bryant had just one completion of a pass he threw 15 yards or more down the field. That was a 15-yard pass to Deon Cain in the second quarter on a third down-and-two play from the NC State 42.
It marked just the fourth time this season Bryant completed a pass of 15 or more yards on third and short.
From an overall passing standpoint, even Bryant admitted Saturday was not a good game from a passing standpoint. Early in the game he was missing open receivers with passes that were too low or too high.
The junior opened the game missing on his first five attempts and was 2-for-8 at the end of the first quarter with an interception which came on his second attempt.
“Obviously Coach (Brandon) Streeter would know better from a mechanical standpoint, but there were a couple that we didn’t make the plays for him either, which I think helps with his confidence,” Elliott said. “And also the last couple of games we’ve been given those opportunities whereas before we haven’t had as many opportunities to go downfield. That’s a 50-50 ball at best, and as I said after the game, we’ve been spoiled here in the past a little bit with the guys that have made that more than fifty percent.
“But we just have to keep throwing them. I think it gives our guys confidence, and then over time I think those balls will start connecting.”
Bryant threw four 50-50 balls against State and he missed on all four. However, two thrown to Cain drew defensive pass interference penalties. One was a little overthrown to Ray-Ray McCloud and another was under thrown to a wide open Trevion Thompson, who would have walked into the end zone if the ball was where it was supposed to be.
“During the game just a few times I threw the ball high,” Bryant said. “My elbow was high and I wasn’t really coming through on all the throws. It was just little mechanical things.”
The junior finished the game completing 18 of his last 30 passes for 174 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown pass to Cain. He also had a 29-yard completion to tight end Milan Richard.
“I think if you look back to Boston College in 2015 when Deshaun was off a little bit and we just kept throwing and then eventually we started to get in rhythm and get in sync, and that propelled us the rest of the season,” Elliott said.