Spence Optimistic

CLEMSON – It has become the Tuesday night norm, where Clemson head football coach Tommy Bowden does not speak to the media after practice and offensive coordinator Rob Spence does.

This week, he offered his assessment of the offense following the N.C. State win.

Spence said what Tiger fans saw Thursday night in the first half was a truer version of what this offense will resemble as time goes by. It's still a work in progress, though.

"I think it's closer to what we want to look like," he said. "I think it's closer to what I expect the offense at Clemson to be. I think there was a much better of mixture of plays in that game – different types of plays. First and foremost, were able to execute our run game, which sets up almost everything that we do, so that gives us a chance to be really multi-dimensional.

"Then there was just a high level of execution. I think the players are starting to feel more and more comfortable with what we're doing. They certainly didn't make many mental mistakes at all."

Even though tailback James Davis is likely sidelined for at least several games, Spence fully expects the running game to continue without missing a beat. In addition, he has the greatest of confidence in Reggie Merriweather and Kyle Browning.

And it's the success of the running game that he thinks the team can continue to build on.

"I hope we'll continue to rush the ball successfully and continue to build on that," Spence said. "I think that when we rush the ball and do a good job in the screen game, I think that our drop-back passing game will continue to improve and we'll be able to do more with that facet of the game. That's usually the last thing to come together, the ability to drop back and throw the ball."

The passing game is also coming around with each passing quarter it seems, and Aaron Kelly is a big reason why.

"You would expect him to improve every single week since he's so young," Spence said. "I think that you're seeing a player gain confidence; you're seeing a player develop a good relationship with the quarterback. They're starting to know where each other will be and they're starting to anticipate each other's reactions."

Another reason the running and passing games were solid against the Wolfpack is because of the offensive line.

Spence even cited left tackle Barry Richardson as someone who played his best game of the season.

"I think the offensive line did a superior job in the last game because obviously they didn't give up really any sacks and we rushed the ball so efficiently and so effectively and there were so many gaping holes for all of our running backs to move through," he said.

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