Following a tough Miami loss, in which Clemson surrendered a heavy six turnovers, they must attempt to bounce back on the road, when they head to face the UNC Tar Heels of Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels may be without most of their star defensive players, but they still boast an underrated defense that Clemson must still be wary of.
With Saturday’s loss, Clemson becomes a 2-2 team, falling to 0-1 in the Atlantic Division. After the film study by coaches, Clemson’s plans to boost their passing game have come to light. It was announced that junior Marquan Jones, red-shirt freshman Bryce McNeal, freshman Deandre ‘Nuke’ Hopkins, and sophomore Jaron Brown will get the work with the number one units this week.
After the less than stellar performances by seniors Xavier Dye and Terrance Ashe, which saw a sure dropped touchdown pass and a poor block that stopped Clemson on third down, respectively, the receivers Coach Jeff Scott and Dabo Swinney have decided to see what these younger guys can do in an increased role.
As each week passes, the passing game is steadily becoming a liability for Clemson. The Miami win simply helps to further exacerbate this one hitch in the Clemson offense.
Clemson was able to, at first, compensate for its questionable passing game by utilizing its running backs Harper and Ellington out of the backfield, and using short, underneath passes to its wide receivers; Dwayne Allen remains the best downfield threat as of now.
Miami did its homework, and took away Clemson’s compensation. They didn't allow Clemson’s receivers free release off of the line, and took away the short, underneath patterns exploited against Auburn.
Clemson hopes to find an outside threat against UNC in Hopkins, Brown, McNeal, or Jones. Hopkins’s ability to gain separation against man coverage was shown a little in the Miami game, and could show that with extended playing time could develop into the outside, down-field threat the Tigers need.
McNeal and Jones have shown themselves to work well out of the slot; Brown is the second candidate at 6-2 to hopefully develop as an outside threat next to Hopkins.
Heading into Chapel Hill, the real receivers MUST stand up.. and quickly.