The offense for Clemson Football has worked hard to protect the football and avoid the big mistakes that have plagued them through the first couple of games of the season.
When a team is trying to prevent turnovers, it isn’t unusual to be a bit conservative with playcalling. We have seen the offense go downfield a few times this season, but no more than token attempts that are more designed to keep a defense honest.
This past weekend, quarterback Cade Klubnik was able to connect with wide receiver Tyler Brown for a big touchdown pass downfield. Knowing you can pull it off is the first step towards having the confidence to try deep passes more often.
If there was a week to roll the dice, this would be it.
Florida State has a very good offense, with quality players at quarterback and wide receiver, but their defense has been challenged by opponents LSU, Southern Miss, and Boston College. The Seminole defense is currently 80th in the FBS in opponent yards per game allowed (per teamrankings.com – only includes FBS opponents).
They are 53rd in opponent rushing yards per game. That’s not good, but it’s not the biggest issue. The Seminole passing defense is 98th in the nation in opponent passing yards allowed per game. They have allowed 268.7 yards per game so far this season.
To put this into perspective, 2022 North Carolina, who Klubnik carved up in the ACC Championship Game, allowed 270.7 yards per game last season.
Downfield shots will be important for the Clemson Football offense
Teamrankings.com has Clemson’s passing offense at 206.5 yards per game against Duke and Florida Atlantic (again, FBS competition only). At a glance, it wouldn’t appear that Clemson has the passing attack to take advantage of FSU’s apparent deficiencies on defense.
This is why the Tigers will have to be willing to push the envelope and take shots downfield. The Tigers can put together drives and win the time of possession with the run game and shorter passes, but they will have to make the Seminoles respect the pass. Otherwise, FSU will simply stack the box to stop Will Shipley and Phil Mafah.
Even if they just make attempts that don’t connect, Clemson needs to show Florida State they are willing to go deep, and they might even hit paydirt with a few of them.