Run Game Looking to Bounce Back

CLEMSON – Maybe the most surprising aspect of the loss at Virginia Tech wasn't the struggles of quarterback Will Proctor, but instead Clemson's inability to run the ball with any sort of consistency. One week later, the Tigers are ready to prove that was a fluke.

Throughout the week, members of the Clemson offense admitted they believed they could line up against anybody at anytime and run the ball down the opposition's throat. Center Dustin Fry even said the team was "arrogant" and that he was "surprised" at what transpired in Blacksburg, Va.

And after the performances against Wake Forest and Georgia Tech on the ground, it's easy to understand why the Tigers may have been a little too overconfident. But now, after a serving of humble pie, Clemson has gone back to the basics and ready to prove it is still one of the best running offenses in the nation.

"Georgia Tech's defense was pretty good along with Virginia Tech's," Tigers coach Tommy Bowden said. "One stopped us, and one didn't. We're probably going to determine this week whether that was a flash in the pan or not. Right now indications are that it could be.

"We need to find out if we're for real in that department, and this is going to be a good indication."

Aiding in Clemson's cause to reestablish ground control is the inability Maryland has shown at stopping the run. The Terrapins rank 100th out of 119 Division I teams in that area.

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen knows that the odds are against his team from improving on that ranking this week.

Regardless of what happened a week ago, the offensive line is still one of the best and the running back tandem of James Davis and C.J. Spiller is surpassed by no one.

"I think they are the best offensive line in the conference, not only because of their experience, but also their ability," Friedgen said. "They have two great backs; they're not just good, they're great and they compliment each other."

Maryland will no doubt try to limit the success of the Tigers' running game just like Virginia Tech did and force Proctor to win the game with his right arm.

"There will be opportunities for Maryland to take our running game away," Bowden said. "We're going to have to execute the forward pass better than we have in the last couple of games. … We're going to find out if we can execute the forward pass against a quality opponent when we have to at a high rate of efficiency."

Earlier in the week, Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence said he was "partly to blame" for the recent problems with Proctor. He said the play calling in previous game may have hindered his fifth-year senior quarterback in the long run.

"We became so one-dimensional in what we were doing," Spence said. "He didn't get a lot of practice in game environment and didn't get the opportunities to hone his skills. "There was no ability to rush the football (against Virginia Tech). Then everything falls and rises with your ability to throw the football."

Spence also admitted that given the exact same of circumstances in some of the blowouts that he might have done things a little different.

"I would do (run) it again," he said. "But probably not to the extent that we did." Top Stories