Bockhorst says there are no excuses for last year, they just need to get better
Matt Bockhorst is not making any excuses for why Clemson’s offensive line struggled at times last year, especially in the Tigers’ two losses.
In both its regular-season loss at Notre Dame last November and in the loss to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, Clemson struggled to run the football effectively and control the line of scrimmage.
“And the end of the day, it does not matter what the reason is or what is a legitimate reason and what’s not. At the end of the day, we did not play as well as we were capable of playing or as well as we were required to play,” Clemson’s starting left guard said. “Moving forward, we are really trying to instill a mindset that we need to get better.
“This team is only going to go as far as we take them and obviously, that was evident this past season.”
Bockhorst has a point. When the Tigers ran the football for more than 200 yards this past season, it won those games quite handedly. One of those games was in a rematch with Notre Dame.
After rushing for a season-low 34 yards in South Bend in its double-overtime loss, Clemson bounced back in the ACC Championship Game and ran for 219 yards and averaged 8.1 yards per carry.
“In the run game, as we got down the stretch, there was just not as much movement, especially on the inside,” Bockhorst said. “We need to assess why that is? Maybe our splits were too tight. Maybe we were crowding the ball a little bit and the footwork gets a little sloppy.
“So, there are a ton of little things that add up and turn into big things. It really is cliché, and it sounds stupid, but it is very basic and fundamental things that impact the effectiveness of the play.”
There are a lot of things that could be causing some of those issues. It could be as simple as experience and development as an offensive lineman.
“Obviously, we have different guys that are in different stages,” Bockhorst said. “I am the oldest. Then Jordan is a veteran as well. But we have a pretty young group. So, different guys are in different stages, but the fundamentals are the same, but if we can just get everyone on the same page with the fundamentals and on the same page mindset wise, I think we will be headed in the right direction.”
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