Clemson RB feels offense got tired of criticism last season, 'picked up our slack'

Clemson RB feels offense got tired of criticism last season, 'picked up our slack'

Football

Clemson RB feels offense got tired of criticism last season, 'picked up our slack'

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Kobe Pace knows that criticism comes with the territory of playing big-time college football, and Clemson’s offense certainly had its share of critics during last season in which the unit struggled before kicking into a higher gear down the stretch.

While Pace doesn’t tune into sports talk shows and sticks to watching games, he told reporters Friday that he didn’t get to the point last season where he had to quit watching TV completely or stay off social media to try to block out criticism of Clemson’s offense.

“Nah, I ain’t worried about it,” the junior running back said. “People are going to talk. It’s life. People talk good or bad about you no matter what. So, TV or social media doesn’t have nothing to do with anything. I really don’t even watch SportsCenter or anything, all the talk shows. I just watch games and stuff.”

Last season, Clemson’s offense ranked ninth in the ACC and 82nd nationally in scoring offense (26.3 points per game) while averaging 359.2 yards per game of total offense, which ranked second-to-last in the conference and 99th in the country.

However, the Tigers turned it up offensively for the most part over their six-game winning streak to end the season, averaging 33.7 points per game across that stretch.

The most points Clemson scored in that span came in a 48-27 victory over Wake Forest at Death Valley on Nov. 20, and Pace feels that’s the contest in which the offense really grew up.

“For sure. I’d say we grew,” he said. “I mean, it’s just all the criticism that we got, I feel like everyone was tired of it. So, I feel like we picked up our slack and just (dealt) with all the criticism that we got from each other. So, hearing all the outsiders saying that we can’t put up points — I mean, I know what we can do as an offense and I believe in them.”

Pace enjoyed a breakout season in 2021 with 641 yards and six touchdowns on 104 carries, adding 131 yards on 12 receptions over only 273 snaps in 11 games (six starts).

Although he doesn’t feel like last season was really a trying one for him individually, he feels good about how Clemson’s offense stepped up in the latter part of the campaign, amid the criticism, to help the Tigers reach at least 10 wins for the 11th year in a row.

“I mean, not me personally. But as a whole team, I felt like that people sometimes didn’t believe in us just because of we couldn’t put points on the board,” Pace said. “But to me, we still had a great season. No one goes 4-3 and comes back and win 10 games — I mean, I think that’s a good team right there. We had to put points up somehow to be 10-3. You can’t win with 0 points. So, I think we just stayed focused and just stayed the course and got it done.”

Come out to support Clemson softball at Dear Old Clemson’s second event which is set for August 27 at the Madren Conference Center.  Clemson returns one of the top teams in the nation and adds some new talent to the mix.   If you sign up for certain club levels you get free access to all Dear Old Clemson events or purchase your tickets today at Dear Old Clemson.

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