During ESPN’s broadcast of Saturday’s game between No. 9 Clemson and NC State, color commentator Robert Griffin III shot it straight when giving his take on one of the issues he sees with the Tigers’ offense.
Clemson (2-2, 1-1 ACC) totaled just 214 yards and struggled to consistently find a rhythm offensively in its 27-21, double-overtime loss to the Wolfpack at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh. The Tigers tallied only 10 first downs, went 2-for-11 on third-down conversion attempts and finished with seven three-and-outs.
D.J. Uiagalelei completed 12-of-26 passes for 111 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
“He didn’t have anybody open,” Griffin III said after one play during the game. “But once again straight-stem routes, nobody is getting mesh points or easy pick plays. Where is the creativity? Seems like they do not only have an identity but their offensive play-calling is a little archaic.”
In four games this season, Clemson has only been able to eclipse 300 yards of total offense in one of those games, the win over FCS opponent South Carolina State. The 10 first downs in Saturday’s game against NC State (3-1, 1-0) are tied for the fewest in a game under Swinney.
In three games against FBS opponents this season, the Tigers have scored a total of 38 points.
During his postgame press conference Saturday, Swinney owned up to the criticism of his offense when asked about Griffin III’s “archaic” comment and if Swinney feels his team’s offensive philosophy and the play-calling are doing a good job of putting the players in position to make plays.
“We run the zone, we run the counter, we run the power. We’ve been an offense that’s been really, really good for a long, long time,” Swinney said. “But the criticism is warranted because that’s where we are right now and that’s what we’ve displayed. So, with the way we’ve performed, you’re going to get criticism and you’re going to get comments and things like that. And you know what, that comes with the territory because the expectation and the standard at Clemson and who we are, we’re not meeting that. It’s just that simple. So, listen, people are going to say whatever they want … but we’re not getting it done right now.”