After being benched during Clemson’s 27-17 loss at Pitt last Saturday, D.J. Uiagalelei’s stronghold on the quarterback position certainly lost its grip.
With Taisun Phommachanh seeing a couple of series and handling himself quite well, it appeared that Clemson’s competition under center would be a bit more opened up.
Coming into Saturday’s game, Uiagalelei was expected to start, but the parameters surrounding Clemson’s game plan were obviously unknown.
Following Clemson’s 30-20 victory over Florida State on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium, Tony Elliott was asked about his team’s quarterback dynamic and what the thinking was coming into the game.
“The game plan was that D.J. had earned the right to run out their first and I thought, especially in the first half, we did a good job,” Clemson’s offensive coordinator said postgame. “Obviously, there were a couple of situations where Florida State had the good call and we had to throw the ball away. Second half, we were in a dog fight. D.J. was doing a good job of leading us, trying to manage the game as best as he can.”
“In the heat of the battle, D.J. is the most battle-tested and that’s who we decided to go with,” he added.
Elliott was asked to assess Uiagalelei’s play, which was inconsistent at best, but he made the necessary plays to lead Clemson to its 32nd straight win in The Valley.
“I think it was good at times,” Elliot said. “Obviously, a couple of things we’d like to clean up, ball placement a little bit. But, he just continues to lead. What I did like is several times during the TV timeouts as the offense was in the huddle getting ready to go out, I could hear him through the headset, through one of the other mics of the coaches. He was challenging guys from a leadership standpoint. As long as we continue to have that from him, he’s gonna continue to critique himself and work on the fundamentals and get better. He gave us a chance to win the football game by managing and making enough plays and that’s what you ask your quarterback to do.”
Uiagalelei finished Saturday’s contest completing 19 of 31 passes with 189 passing yards, an 11-yard touchdown pass to Davis Allen, and an interception.