Clemson football fell to the Tennessee Volunteers in the Capital One Orange Bowl Friday evening after missing repeated opportunities to score in the first half.
The Tigers broached Vol territory over and over in the first half, including on their first drive of the game, where Dabo Swinney opted to run a fake field goal that failed.
That seemed to take kicker B.T. Potter out of his comfort zone as one of the best kickers in Clemson history proceeded to miss three field goals in the first half as Clemson trailed 14-3 at the break.
Clemson dominated the stats, but couldn’t execute inside of Tennessee territory in the loss.
It was a conundrum for the Tigers offense as they ran over 100 plays, gained 34 first downs and totaled 484 yards, but managed one touchdown on the evening.
Klubnik was good at times, but also showed a propensity to leave the pocket without provocation, dropping back 15 or more yards behind the line of scrimmage.
For Tennessee, Joe Milton was on point, as was Squirrel Wright with 9 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Criticism of the coaching staff is likely warranted, as the fake field goal seemed to shift momentum and the Tigers mentality early in the game.
Instead of a 3-0 lead, the Tigers went on defense, both literally and figuratively for the rest of the game.
Trick plays are a double-edged sword and hindsight is 20-20, but it was a questionable move.
Clemson football has many questions to answer heading into 2023
The offensive play calling was also questionable at times, as the Tigers seemed to stray from plays and concepts that were working to run low-percentage plays.
Heading into 2023 there are many questions to answer for the Tigers.
I end this season unimpressed with both coordinators and after defending Dabo’s choices for the balance of the season, I now think it’s fair to question those decisions.
Grand conclusions shouldn’t be made from one game, but moving forward there should be more scrutiny on the staff.