Following Clemson’s victory over Virginia last Saturday, there has been some chatter regarding what some would consider a lack-luster performance from the top-ranked Tigers. However, starting left guard Matt Bockhorst thinks otherwise.
While Clemson, who hosts No. 7 Miami on Saturday, did struggle at times in Saturday’s matchup, specifically against Virginia’s complex defensive scheme, Bockhorst knows that in order to be the best, you have to face your mistakes and learn from them firsthand, and these mistakes will be the difference-maker in the growth of this year’s team.
“I think it is always important to be challenged and you can correct your mistakes,” Bockhorst said. “If you never have any challenges or adversity then you might have a false sense of security as to how good you’re performing. So, it’s always important to be challenged, and as you mentioned, the mental challenge that came with Virginia, I think is what I would harp upon the most just because it presented communication challenges and other things that we might not have seen or have happened to us otherwise.”
Despite the adversity Clemson’s offense faced early on versus the Wahoo’s, Bockhorst and his fellow o-linemen were able to adapt quickly, bringing a high caliber of physicality to the table, something Bockhorst says the stats fail to mention.
“Physically, I think we did well,” the redshirt junior said. “I think that, like I said, it goes back to the communication early on where we might have missed some things, but from a physicality standpoint, I was proud of the way the group played. I think that we reset the line of scrimmage. Like I said, I know the statistics might not say so, but there’s a lot more that goes into that.”
Head Coach Dabo Swinney described his team’s challenges on Saturday as “a dose of Robitussin” and Bockhorst could not agree more. In fact, he thinks it was just what the doctor ordered heading into their top 10 matchup against Miami.
“Yeah, the way that he would describe that is sometimes you need the medicine that doesn’t taste very good, which I’m sure he told you guys. But sometimes, it’s not fun to be checked,” the left guard said. “I think we have a mature group as a team and guys that are true competitors and aren’t going to let a bad game or bad play stop them from improving and putting together a nice game.
“I think, sometimes its needed and sometimes you need it when you don’t want it, but it is important for us to grow as a team to make a championship run.”