Clemson Football returns from their bye week to take on the Miami Hurricanes tonight at 8:00 PM in Miami Gardens. Both teams are looking to get back on track.
After multiple weeks of improvement, the Clemson offense laid an egg against Wake Forest. After a 4-0 start, the Hurricanes dropped their last two games.
Regarding Miami, I have thought they were on the edge of returning to competitiveness several times over the years. I’ve been burned so many times that I am hesitant to buy in.
My thoughts continue to bounce back to Clemson. There are a lot of fans down on this offense right now, so down that they hardly notice that the defense is very good.
With DJ Uiagalelei playing well and Oregon State at 5-1, fans are inevitably comparing Cade Klubnik to him and this 2023 offense to the Beaver’s offense.
I compare Klubnik and this offense to a sophomore DJU and the 2021 offense, and it isn’t even a close comparison.
First, I want to acknowledge the turnover plague right now, but also point out it didn’t start with this offense. Since the Syracuse game last year, this offense has been turning the ball over more than usual.
The turnovers are the reason Clemson has lost two games, but they are surprising, and I continue to assert they are downright fluke-ish for one major reason: this offense is moving the ball. The turnovers are happening after they have been on drives.
Turning the ball over is a far cry from not being able to field an operable and capable offense.
The 2021 offense, and DJU especially, were reasonably good at protecting the ball. You know what? It didn’t matter because they weren’t very good at anything else. They couldn’t drive the ball. Their ability to avoid turnovers usually just meant the opposition was taking the ball after a punt.
I understand if you think this is a pick your poison type of thing, but I think turnover prone is a very different disease from simply being unable to operate the offense to any level of competence.
Clemson didn’t lose to Duke because they couldn’t drive the ball. They lost to Duke because when they did drive the ball they either turned it over or missed a field goal.
As for FSU, just repeat what I just said and replace “Duke” with “Florida State”, then add “…enough times to come back to haunt them.”
The 2021 offense was incompetent. There were only two games against FCS competition when they were worth a hoot: Wake Forest and South Carolina. They won every other game because they had a very good defense, including the Cheez-It Bowl. If it wasn’t for Mario Goodrich, the ten-wins per season streak would have ended almost two years ago.
There has been only one game this season when the offense was so incompetent that they couldn’t sustain drives, and it was the most recent game against Wake Forest.
I’m throwing out the recency bias. This is an offense that has been operative more often than not.
The performance against Wake Forest was the exception to the rule for the Clemson Football offense this season
I’m also throwing it out for Miami. The best defense Miami played was Texas A&M, which is comparable to Clemson’s defense when it comes to points allowed and is Top 10 in yards allowed. The Hurricanes had no problem moving the ball against the Aggies.
They did have a problem against Georgia Tech and North Carolina, and their defenses aren’t in the same ballpark as Clemson or Texas A&M. I think there is a new circumstance.
I don’t think Tyler Van Dyke is healthy, despite what his coaches have told us. His efficiency has decreased significantly in the past two weeks.
As I said, I am hesitant to jump to conclusions about Miami because I seem to have a hard time predicting their performances.
Despite their most recent outing, I think Clemson’s offense has made strides since the beginning of the season, and I don’t think their Wake performance is indicative of how things will be from here on out.
I think the Tigers dictate this game. Clemson’s defense will get after Van Dyke early and make life hard for him. I do expect the offense to have some bye-week rust but I think they eventually put points on the board.