Athlon Sports talked with a number of ACC football coaches about their expectations for each team in the conference this season. The overwhelming theme of their comments on the Clemson football program was that the Tigers offense has some rebuilding to do.
These kinds of articles are usually pretty interesting, but not so much because of any real insight offered up by the coaches. Athlon allowed them to speak anonymously, so they wouldn’t have to worry about providing their opponents with “billboard material,” but those coach-speak habits die hard.
I think this quote on Clemson’s offense best illustrates that point:
“Offensively they lost a lot of weapons, which will help the teams that play them.”
Yes, that is true. Clemson losing Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, etc. is probably better for the Tigers’ opponents than the alternative. He may have been pointing out the obvious, but at least he isn’t wrong.
Another coach also chose to beat the having-elite-players-is-good drum, though he did at least offer a bit more detail to support his point.
“Their inside guys were very stout and physical. They have a strong side defensive end (Shaq Lawson) that’s a powerful guy, a weapon as a pass rusher. Beasley loves third and long. When he came back, a lot of coaches in the ACC said uh oh. He’s a premier player in pass rush, just good enough in run game, not great. They position him well and have a good scheme.”
Most of the other comments are pretty similar. This collection of ACC football coaches (whether they are head coaches, assistants, or whatever else) is pretty sure that Clemson will be solid on defense but the offense will probably take a step back. None of that really deviates from the conventional wisdom.
And if you are curious about how they feel about Clemson’s main obstacle to the ACC championship game, the Florida State Seminoles, I think this about sums it up.
“I wouldn’t think anybody would be a favorite over them in our league.”
Thanks again for the insight, anonymous ACC coaches.