By Lee Lance.
It’s Monday again, time for Monday Morning Quarterback. Today’s edition is going to focus on, oddly enough, the quarterbacks favorite position outside of the offensive line, wide receiver.
Clemson coaches have been saying for months that this was one position on the field that they needed to find starters. The coaches needed someone to step up and be the man at wide receiver, then they needed to find a few more to put on the field with him.
After playing eight receivers in game one, the Tigers have slowed down the rotation a good bit this past Saturday’s game, but not because they have found their guys.
At some point though, the coaches had to pick their best three or four options, and go with those guys more than the others. If for no other reason, then just for the fact that quarterback Kyle Parker needs to start getting more comfortable with his starting receivers, whoever they are going to be.
But do the Tigers really need a star receiver, or even great play from a receiver, to succeed? I don’t really think so. Take Saturday’s game for example.
The Tigers went into the fifteenth ranked Auburn War Eagle’s stadium and scored 24 points with 400 yards of offense. Of that 400 yards, 227 were passing yards. Of those 227 passing yards, 162 went to three players.
Want to guess who those three players were? Tight end Dwayne Allen, running back Andre Ellington, and running back Jamie Harper. Seriously. Of the Tigers 227 yards of passing offense at Auburn, only 65 actually went to receivers.
In fact, of the three longest pass plays of the day, 16, 22, and 24 yards, none went to a wide receiver.
Think back to last year, when it seemed the questions loomed during the preseason. “Who will we find on offense other than Jacoby Ford and CJ Spiller?” Well, the answer last year just happened to be, tight end Michael Palmer.
This year the same questions were asked, only this time it was “who are we going to get the ball to at wide receiver?”. Well, perhaps the answer is, no one all that often.
I’m not suggesting that there aren’t some talented guys at wide receiver this year, nor am I saying they didn’t play well this past Saturday. What I am saying, though, is that Clemson doesn’t necessarily have to find that “go to guy” in their receiving corp this year to be successful. Especially when they have three other very capable weapons to go to.
One other thing that I think deserves noting is that so far this season, much like last season with Spiller, Palmer, and Ford, this staff will get it done. Dabo Swinney and Billy Napier have now proven to me after last season and just one real game this season, that they know how to get the ball into the playmakers hands.
Swinney and Napier just seemed to be two of those coaches that have a knack for finding ways to get the ball into the best players hands, no matter how creatively they have to do it. They also have proven to be pretty effective at working with what they have to work with, and that has been proven evident all the way back to their “trial” season, or partial season that is.