It’s no secret. Clemson struggled with its downfield passing game in 2017.
The Tigers ranked near the bottom of the FBS last season in the number of touchdown passes 20 or more yards down the field. To be honest, Clemson did not throw very many touchdowns.
Kelly Bryant, who start all 14 games and finished 13 of them, had just 13 touchdown passes all year, the second fewest by a starting quarterback at Clemson since 2011. As a team, the Tigers had just 17 all season.
In the spring, Clemson’s coaches put an emphasis on getting more production in the passing, especially with the long ball. During Deshaun Watson’s tenure, the Tigers were one of the nation’s leaders in touchdowns of 20 or more yards, something they want to get back to this coming season.
The Tigers’ offense performed well for much of Clemson’s spring practices, according to Hunter Renfrow, which was noticeable in the spring game as Clemson had touchdown passes of 18, 37, 50 and 50 yards in the game.
“There are so many different guys, too,” Renfrow said. “It is not just Mike Williams getting one every day. It is Cornell (Powell) getting one, then Tee (Higgins), then Diondre (Overton), then Trevion (Thompson) and T.J. Chase, so everyone is making plays and it is more of a group effort rather than just one guy taking over.”
Renfrow says getting the ball downfield has been a priority every year he has been at Clemson, but this spring the coaches put a little more emphasis on it.
“We are trying to expand the field horizontally and open up stuff over the middle and the run game and stuff like that so we have worked hard at it,” Renfrow said. “It seems like we have worked at it just like the last couple of springs. It is something that is a staple in our offense and we will continue to work on it in the summer and going into the fall.”
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