ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit believes the book is coming out on Clemson’s offense and that it showed in the game plan Georgia Tech’s defense used to defend the Tigers last Saturday, when they held quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei and his wide receivers in check while allowing just two touchdowns on a pair of 3-yard rushing scores by running back Will Shipley in Clemson’s 14-8 win.
“I think Georgia Tech, they just said listen, we don’t want these big, tall receivers to get behind us,” Herbstreit said in a discussion with Matt Barrie on The ESPN College Football Podcast. “We’re just going to kind of play real soft in coverage and let them run the ball. And quarterback run’s not been a big thing for them, so let’s just take our chances and see what’ll happen against Will Shipley. And if D.J. is going to run, let’s be ready to defend that, but we’re not going to give up any explosives.
“If you’re defending Clemson, that’s what you’re going to do right now. And if they don’t have the offensive line and the running game to make people pay for that, then they’re going to have some tough games because that’s going to become the book on them. Nobody wants to let Justyn Ross or (Joseph) Ngata, those talented receivers, beat you. And Georgia Tech, give them a lot of credit.”
Herbstreit anticipates continued struggles from Clemson’s offense unless the Tigers are able to establish an identity offensively.
“Clemson’s defense has been outstanding. Championship caliber,” Herbstreit said. “But the offense without obviously Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne and company, they’re still trying to kind of find their new identity. Because right now, they don’t have an identity, and until they get one, it’s going to make things tougher on that side of the ball.”
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