Uiagalelei has earned playing time during the 2020 Clemson football season
He may not be the face of the Clemson football program yet, but we’re going to see more of QB D.J. Uiagalelei moving forward.
There’s no question that the keys to the Clemson football team are back in the hands of Trevor Lawrence– and they should be- but there’s no way you can watch the last two games of the season and not see the spectacular performances of Uiagalelei and say that he shouldn’t see the field more often than what we were seeing earlier in the year.
Uiagalelei threw for nearly 800 yards and accounted for six touchdowns in just two games, and one of which was on the road in front of a national audience against a top-four team in the country.
How Clemson football can utilize Uiagalelei moving forward
We’re not advocating for the Tigers to take a bunch of snaps away from Trevor Lawrence or for them to switch to some two-QB system. Those never work.
What we are saying is that there could be a couple of specialized packages pulled out over a handful of snaps during a game where you get Uiagalelei involved, especially in the running game.
Say you’ve got a 2nd-and-5 situation coming up. Bringing Uiagalelei in the game to pick up the five yards with his legs could help the Tigers get their rushing attack going on a more consistent basis than what we’ve seen before. He runs it a couple of times or even just hands it off, but the defense has to respect the passing game the entire time.
All of a sudden on a short-yardage situation, perhaps even on a 3rd down, you bring Uiagalelei in the game and let him air one out. If you don’t get it, you still have a 4th down to pick up the yard and it gives the defense just a little bit of extra window dressing to have to deal with over the course of just 5-7 plays.
This keeps Uiagalelei involved and allows Lawrence to truly be able to mentor him- in real-time- over the course of a game when snaps still matter. You’re not taking anything at all away from Lawrence by doing so and you’re continuing to build for the future. It seems like a win-win to me.
Another thing I think we’ll see that’s more likely than just the specialized packages is the Tiger coaching staff getting Uiagalelei involved when a game isn’t tight, but not yet out of reach. An example might be him getting a series in the second quarter with Clemson up 14 or 17, as just a designed part of the game plan.
The Clemson football program is absolutely in the hands of Trevor Lawrence moving forward, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see more of D.J. Uiagalelei as the season progresses.