Clemson football: Who has to be held accountable for bad offense?

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney after the 14-8 win over Georgia Tech in Clemson, S.C., September 18, 2021.Ncaa Football Georgia Tech At Clemson(PHOTO COURTESY OF Imagn)
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney after the 14-8 win over Georgia Tech in Clemson, S.C., September 18, 2021.Ncaa Football Georgia Tech At Clemson(PHOTO COURTESY OF Imagn) /

The 2021 Clemson football offense is among the worst not in the ACC, but in the entire FBS.

The Tigers currently rank 121st in yards per play, total offense, touchdowns and yards per game. Yes, you read that right. There are currently 120 offenses in FBS that are averaging more yards per play and points per game than Clemson currently.

And, unfortunately, those statistics get even worse if you take out the game against S.C. State.

We’ve heard coaches talk about how Clemson “is just a few plays away” and how the Tigers “just aren’t executing right now, ” but advanced statistics show a much different story.

Those red categories that you see above mean ‘bad’ and the Tigers are bad in just about every single area imaginable on the offensive side of the ball.

Who should be held accountable for the travesty of an offense that Clemson football currently has?

It’s nice of players to stick up for their coaches, but the truth of the matter is that this falls firmly on the coaches.

Clemson has five starters on the offensive line who weigh more than 300 pounds and there are times where they’re just simply getting beat. Clemson’s wide receivers have no versatility in size and they aren’t creating separation. D.J. Uiagalelei has looked shell-shocked for much of the season and even when he steps up and makes a good throw, it has been accompanied by 7 other bad throws, many of which should be easy completions.

So, where do you place the blame when an offense simply isn’t clicking and everything that could go wrong has?

Yes, it’s easy to say that the players aren’t executing. But, it also would be fair to say that the coaches haven’t necessarily put their players in the best position to execute, either.

They knew what the deficiencies were going to be coming into the year and did basically nothing to address them.

That falls firmly on their shoulders.

No, you can’t put the blame in one single place but I will say this: The offensive line has been a recurring issue with this program. Would it at least be fair to say that it’s time that Robbie Caldwell is reevaluated?

No, the players aren’t executing, but doesn’t the play of the offense ultimately come back to the offensive coordinator? I know there are a lot of people who are wanting to protect Tony Elliott at all costs, but some of these are the same people who defended Billy Napier in 2010 when the offense was atrocious.

The truth of the matter is that this is an offense of 5-stars playing like a Group of Five unit– and that’s being kind.

We can talk all day about how it’s the players’ jobs to fill assignments, but ultimately the responsibility falls back on the coach and, frankly, Tony Elliott is not doing a very good job right now.

It doesn’t mean he’s not a good coach. Billy Napier was terrible in 2010 with Clemson and now he’s becoming a successful head coach.

But what it does mean is that he has some developing to do and either he makes the needed changes or this offense is going to continue to struggle.

There are a lot of places to put the blame and I’m not calling for anyone to be fired in this post. But, there needs to be a sense of accountability and evaluation among those offensive staff members, particularly Robbie Caldwell and Tony Elliott, as this season progresses.

I’m tired of hearing about how they were successful in the past. It has nothing to do with the present or the future.

It’s either time for the entire offensive staff to adapt and change, or it’s time to find new blood. I’m pulling for Elliott to figure it out and for Clemson to develop this season, but that doesn’t mean he– or anyone else on this staff– should be free from criticism as we move forward.

Next. What Phil Mafah can add to this offense. dark