Did Clemson’s 45-21 loss at Georgia surprise you? It shouldn’t have. If you’ve followed the blog or listened to the podcasts, we’ve told you all summer that Clemson lacked playmakers on offense. Would anyone step up? The answer is no. The Wide Receivers had their moments, but couldn’t consistently get open. The running backs were adequate, but hardly exceptional, and Cole Stoudt clearly became more and more overwhelmed as the game progressed.
This is exactly what we saw in the spring game though. There wasn’t a Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins type waiting in the wings. Maybe Mike Williams or Artavis Scott becomes that kind of player, but not now. The offensive line was a concern, and today they were under siege from a relentless Georgia pass rush.
Cole Stoudt was decent at QB, but he’s not a player that can carry a team on his back. We knew this all already.
The other concern we brought up earlier this summer was could Chad Morris formulate a game plan without the luxury of any elite playmakers. He clearly could not, against a team as talented as Georgia. The Tigers on offense in the 2nd half had a complete meltdown. From the protection schemes, to the play calling, to the in-game game adjustments, it was a total mess for Clemson. I like Morris, but he struggles when his initial game plans start slipping away.
It’s happened time and time again against South Carolina.
We also pointed out that while Clemson’s defense is good, it wasn’t the type of unit that could contain a team the quality of Georgia. They had their moments, and in my opinion gave a credible effort, but that’s not a dominant unit. Eventually, due to the offense’s inability to move the ball in the 2nd half, they predictability wore out.
Now give Georgia credit. That is an immensely talented team that features the best college running back since Adrian Peterson in Todd Gurley playing at home. It wasn’t a game we thought Clemson could win and they didn’t.
The Tigers in my opinion are still a 9-3 type team. Florida State is the only team remaining on the Tigers schedule that will be better than Georgia. Dabo Swinney just needs to make sure he doesn’t lose his team after what will likely be a 1-2 start with two blowouts. I don’t think the Tigers will be able to keep it close at Florida State. I see a 17-27 point loss down there.
By the way, it won’t happen, but Dabo Swinney should think about replacing Cole Stoudt and at QB with Freshman Deshaun Watson. Stoudt wasn’t that bad today, but he’s limited in his ability. Watson played a handful of series, and made the best throw any Clemson QB made today. Also with Clemson’s shaky offensive line, Watson mobility gives the Tigers a better chance to make plays. At the very least, Watson should get considerable time next week against SC State.
There’s talent at Clemson, but there are questions. The same ones we told you about. Clemson after 1 game is who we thought they were.