Clemson football has a glaring weakness and no one wants to address it.
Unless you have no idea what you are actually watching, there is no way that you can watch the Clemson football offensive line and think they are good at what they do when it comes to run blocking.
Head coach Dabo Swinney loves to point to the scoreboard or total yards when talking about how good he thinks the offensive line is, but one look at the rush game shows you that is nothing but smoke and mirrors.
We have written several articles about the offensive line needing to find itself and have also stated that their blocking scheme is terrible. More importantly, it is time that offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell has to retire.
Nothing supports that sentiment like this very important statistic.
Clemson football is 72nd in the nation in rushing offense. That is with a first-round left tackle and the best running back in America. That should be unacceptable to anyone paying attention.
Senior running back Travis Etienne is averaging a career-worst 75 yards per game, despite averaging more almost two more carries per game. That is a drop off of more than 30 rushing yards per game over the last two years – again despite getting more attempts.
That is all because of the inability upfront of the Clemson football offensive line.
Taking a look back over the college football era, no team has won a national title with a rushing attacked ranked as low as Clemson football is in 2020.
Here is a look at the nation title winners and where their rushing game ranked that season.
- 2019: LSU – 60th
- 2018: Clemson – 10th
- 2017: Alabama – 13th
- 2016: Clemson – 14th
- 2015: Alabama – 32nd
- 2014: Ohio State – 5th
As we see, LSU is outlier over the first six years of the College Football Playoffs. To take this a step further, Clemson football has not played for a national title under Dabo Swinney when their rushing game is ranked outside the Top 25 nationally.
Here are the Clemson football rushing yards per game ranking each of the years under Dabo Swinney.
- 2009: 40th
- 2010: 79th
- 2011: 59th
- 2012: 36th
- 2013: 56th
- 2014: 90th
- 2015: 22nd*
- 2016: 14th*
- 2017: 35th
- 2018: 10th*
- 2019: 13th*
I get, I read your comments. Many of you are rah rah Dabo Swinney fans and truly believe he can do no wrong. However, his willingness to overlook the offensive line this year because of the passing offense success could be at the detriment of his third national title as the head coach of Clemson football.
He loves his coaching staff and the continuity has allowed Clemson football to become one of two premier programs in college football. However, the game has clearly passed Caldwell by and it is time to bring in a younger more energetic coach that can spark some life into that group.
While I am not telling you the Tigers will not hoist the trophy in a little over a month, what I am telling you is that Clemson football’s own past failures and successes are talking and maybe we should lower the expectations of team 125, despite having the winningest quarterback and best running back in program history.