Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has never enjoyed watching game film of an offensive line more than he did when he graded his first-team offensive line’s performance in last Saturday’s 37-13 win at Wake Forest.
“Our offensive line, I’m telling you, that first group – I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun watching and grading the tape,” Swinney said on his radio call-in show, “Tiger Calls,” Monday night on WCCP 105.5 FM The Roar. “It was just awesome to watch those guys play, and they (Wake Forest) do a lot of stuff, man. They do a lot of moving, and we just handled it so well. That set the tone for everything.”
Swinney’s top-ranked Tigers amassed 561 total yards of offense, including 376 through the air and 185 on the ground, against the Demon Deacons at Truist Field in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Trevor Lawrence completed 22 of his 28 passes for 351 yards and one passing touchdown while also rushing for two scores. Travis Etienne ran for 102 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and caught three passes for 47 yards as well, while Braden Galloway paced a productive tight end group with five catches for 60 yards. Sophomore tight end Davis Allen recorded a 42-yard reception, Clemson’s longest of the game.
“We just started rolling, throwing and catching, and then it goes to your quarterback and his ability to process things, especially post-snap,” Swinney said. “(Lawrence) managed the protections, and then we’ve got some guys that can play, man. That No. 9 (Etienne) creates a lot of problems. Having Braden Galloway back and really not just having him back, but having a more mature version of him, more experienced version of him. Davis Allen, in a second year now. We’ve got some really good receivers, really good young talent there, too.
“So, it was just great to see us play with such efficiency. Took care of the ball and moved the ball up and down the field. Everybody got involved. To see Travis get 20 touches… We got him good work, but we did not get him quite as much as maybe years past in camp. So, it was good to see him get lathered up and do such a good job.”
Swinney was also pleased with how the Tigers executed in certain situations they have circled as areas they want to get better in.
“Areas we want to improve, last year, we weren’t quite as good on third down as we needed to be,” he said. “We weren’t quite as good in the red zone as we usually are, and we did a great job in both of those areas, then also in short yardage. Those are three areas we want to improve and get back to the standard we’ve set.
“So, overall, really good start for us and hopefully we can build on it.”
Clemson’s offense did stall out and drop off in production after the starters exited the game, so Swinney and his staff will continue to try and build functional depth and get the reserves more ready to play as the season progresses.
“Biggest thing is just our backups, our second group, getting them to where they can go play winning football for us,” Swinney said, “and that’s part of our process we’re in right now.”
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