Midseason Report Card: Offense

Six games into the 2005 season, there are plenty of high points, yet plenty of low points to discuss regarding the Clemson football team. Here is quick breakdown of each offensive unit thusfar.

There were a lot of high hopes for senior quarterback Charlie Whitehurst with the new offensive schemes of offensive coordinator Rob Spence.

And for the most part, he's delivered.

He's had a few bad quarters, but overall, the Whitehurst that threw 17 interceptions a year ago and who had a tendency to force throws is long gone. This year, he's confident and crisp with his passes and he has shown the kind of touch on his deep balls that has him as a highly rated NFL prospect. He has a very high completion percentage, but that is a direct result of the new offense with all the short passes.

Nonetheless, the senior quarterback has played very well.

Running Backs
It's obvious that the Tigers have found themselves a tailback with all the skills to be a star, and at times, James Davis has shown that. But there have also been times when he's all but disappeared. He's still learning the position and maybe even with his recent injury, Davis will finally get at least 20 carries a game by the end of the year

Davis' counterpart, Reggie Merriweather, has shown in the past that he is a serviceable back and can be used in the right situations, but he is no Davis. That was never more evident then last week at N.C. State, when Merriweather just didn't have the same type of quickness as Davis to get through the brief holes. Merriweather has the heart and drive, but sometimes that can't overcome lack of physical skills.

Offensive Line
There's no doubt this area has improved drastically from last year. Roman Fry has solidified the left guard spot and center Dustin Fry has been an upgrade at center. Even so, the unit has struggled at times, especially in pass protection for deep throws. And as a result, Spence hasn't asked Whitehurst to do much downfield passing.

As far as run blocking is concerned, the N.C. State game was by far the unit's best. In fact, it was the line's best all-around game in quite some time. But there have been games where they had difficulties opening up holes on a consistent basis. As a whole, this line is as middle of the road as one can get. Not great, yet not bad. But the future looks bright.

Wide Receivers
Like the offensive line, the receiving corps has been an improvement from last year. But the one thing still lacking is the true game-breaker. No one to date has shown the ability to be a viable threat to take it to the house on each reception. It seems there are more possession receivers than anything else.

Curtis Baham has been a pleasant surprise. He's at or near the top in the ACC in several receiving categories. Chansi Stuckey has come and gone. Some good games, some not so good. His main play is the bubble screen. Aaron Kelly has shown good hands and has improved his play in recent weeks. But there's no one on this unit that scares opposing defenses.

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