As impressive as the Clemson offense was in the first half against The Citadel, the second unit was as equally unimpressive in the second half.
Led by Trevor Lawrence, the Tigers’ starters ran up nearly 300 yards of offense and scored six touchdowns on seven possessions. Clemson led 49-0 at halftime, including a James Skalski fumbled return for a touchdown.
However, in the second half, the Tigers, playing with second and third-team players, struggled to move the football with any consistency. They did not score in the last 30 minutes of the game and had just 112 total yards.
“They are all getting better. But collectively as a group, we still have a little work to do because they are all young,” head coach Dabo Swinney said.
The Tigers (2-0) are especially young on the offensive line, where freshmen Paul Tchio, Walker Parks, Trent Howard and Mitchell Mayes had their moments against the Bulldogs.
“Walker Parks and Mitchel Mayes are making some really good strides. Tchio is doing some really good things. It has been encouraging,” Swinney said. “Trent Howard is a kid that … we knocked it out of the park with him. He needs a year in the weight room, but man is he a good football player. He is just smart and instinctive and tough. He is a very natural guy. He can play center and guard. There are a lot of guys.”
Swinney was happy with the play of freshman receiver E.J. Williams, who caught three passes for 58 yards in his Death Valley debut.
“E.J. is a guy that we think has just great instincts for the game. He is really, really improving and is getting better,” Swinney said. “We got Chez (Mellusi) back the other day. We tried to rep a lot of those guys to get them in the game. We did not have a lot of snaps because we scored fast, but we did give everybody some opportunities.
“We are continuing to see some improvement at tight end with Jaelyn (Lay). He is not really in the stat column yet, but he is improving.”
Across the board, Clemson showed signs of getting better thanks to some individual play here and there.
“It is a really good group that all have individual things to do, but collectively they are making some strides,” Swinney said.
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