D.J. Uiagalelei showed improvement in Clemson’s 49-3 win over South Carolina State on Saturday.
After a tough start to open the season in the loss to Georgia, offensive coordinator Tony Elliott saw progress in his sophomore quarterback.
“Overall, I thought he had a better pocket presence this week than he did the previous week and so that’s all were asking him to do is get better every week,” Elliott said in a press conference on Monday.
Uiagalelei completed 14-of-24 passes for 171 yards a touchdown and an interception. He also used his legs with five rushes for 23 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
While the numbers improved for the Tigers’ starting quarterback, Elliott saw plenty of room for improvement.
“There’s some footwork things that he has to work on, especially on the move making sure that he’s following through on his throw and not leaning away, coach Streeter and him will work on that,” Elliott said. “But I’ll say this about D.J. man, he improved especially in the pocket.”
Elliott knows Uiagalelei will continue to progress and has a high ceiling but needs to go through some growing pains first.
“I think everybody especially inside the program, but a lot of people who have seen him play, understand how talented this young man is,” Elliott said. “But also it’s what his fourth game starting? He’s got to go through some growing pains so to speak.”
While Uiagalelei has room to grow Elliott thinks his mistakes are magnified because of comparisons to Trevor Lawrence’s performance at the helm last season. And the offensive coordinator feels like his young quarterback will be just fine as he continues to grow.
“And in fairness to him sometimes he gets compared to a guy that was here for several years and gets compared to him at the end of his career and that’s tough on a young guy,” Elliott said. “D.J. is made of the right stuff and his ceiling is extremely high but you have to take steps to get to your ceiling, to be able to play consistently towards the top of your potential.”
Clemson hosts Georgia Tech on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on ABC at Memorial Stadium.
Football season has finally arrived. Time to represent your Tigers and show your stripes!