Before leaving Jervey Meadows on a hot, muggy Friday afternoon, Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei weighed in on the Tigers’ offensive performance through the first seven days of preseason camp.
“I think we’re right there, man,” Uiagalelei said.
The Tigers will hold their first scrimmage of camp Saturday, though that’s not what his comments were geared toward. Uiagalelei believes the offense has made significant progress in a short period of time toward being where it needs to be for the Labor Day opener against Georgia Tech.
“Every day, we’re not going to be perfect,” Uiagalelei said. “It might not be the best day. Another day, it might be great. But the main thing about camp is being consistent, being better each and every day and not making the same mistake twice. Learn from the mistakes today and not doing that same mistake tomorrow. So far, we’ve been doing a really good job of not making the same mistake twice.”
Clemson’s offense received its share of criticism last season amid a significant dropoff in production. Uiagalelei, who finished with the second-worst completion percentage among ACC starters, was the primary recipient as the former five-star recruit struggled his first year as the starter within an offense that found it difficult to stay whole around him because of injuries.
The unit has hit the reset button with a new year, a new coordinator (Brandon Streeter) and an offensive line that still has questions, particularly on the interior. Uiagalelei is backed up by five-star signee Cade Klubnik, the Tigers’ top three running backs are back in the fold, and Clemson returns four of its top five pass-catchers from last season, though the receiving corps is dealing with an early wave of injuries.
Still, Uiagalelei said the offense’s execution has largely been clean through the first week of camp.
“We’ve done a really good job this fall camp with completions, not as many turnovers and also just consistency,” Uiagalelei said. “So it’s been good to see.”
Provided the group can largely keep its health intact this fall, Uiagalelei said he believes there’s only one thing that can keep the group from showing last season was a fluke and ultimately fulfilling its potential.
“I think it’s just ourselves,” he said. “If we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot, we don’t do the mistakes we’re not supposed to do and we don’t step on our own selves, we’ll be fine. As long as we don’t do that, we’ll be 100% good.”
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