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Kirk Herbstreit Has Message For Critics Of Tony Elliott

Kirk Herbstreit watches Clemson football warm up.

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Jason Witten and Kirk Herbstreit talk during pregame of the College Football Playoff National Championship held at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. The Clemson Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 44-16. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

After years of offensive dominance, the Clemson Tigers seem to have hit a road block in 2021.

Through the first four games of the season, including an opening-game loss to Georgia, a tightly-contested win over Georgia Tech and a shocking upset loss to NC State, the college football powerhouse has struggle to move the ball down the field. Even in the team's blowout win over South Carolina State in Week 2, starting quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei had difficulties working the ball through the air, throwing for just 171 yards, one touchdown and one interception in limited time against an inferior opponent.

Because of these recent offensive struggles, many fans and analysts are starting to bring the hammer down on Clemson's offensive coordinator Tony Elliott.

On Tuesday's episode of the ESPN College Football Podcast, Kirk Herbstreit went after these critics, telling them to "shut up."

“I’ve heard people question Tony Elliott or the scheme,” Herbstreit said. “Give me a break. Are you kidding me? Everyone is bragging about Tony Elliott and that scheme for years, and all the sudden after three weeks it’s not looking good, and people say, ‘Well, that’s a high school scheme.’ It’s like, shut up. What are you talking about?”

Some analysts argue that shortcomings in Elliott's scheme were covered up by superstar quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence. During the Tigers' double overtime loss to NC State this pas weekend, ESPN analyst and former college football star Robert Griffin III went as far as to call Elliott's offense "archaic."

Herbstreit believes the issues lie with personnel problems throughout the offensive roster -- not the offensive scheme.

“To me, the offensive line last year wasn’t great,” Herbstreit said. “The offensive line this year is not great. Now you put yourself, without a running quarterback, in a real bind when you can’t run the ball. That’s kind of where they are. It feels like, with DJ, the game is moving really fast. Sometimes we say about a veteran quarterback, ‘The game looks like it’s moving slow. He’s played 30 games. It’s like he has the answers to every situation.’ Then you’ve got a young quarterback who has the physical ability, and he looks indecisive. He’s hesitant every time he’s back there throwing. Unless the primary is open and he can put his foot in the ground and throw, you take his primary away and he goes into panic mode. You combine a young quarterback that’s still trying to see it with an offensive line and running game that isn’t there, and they’re back at the drawing board right now. It’s bigger than just these first few weeks.”

For the first time in years, Clemson has already played itself out of College Football Playoff contention. With a 2-2 record, the Tigers will look to bounce back against an undefeated Boston College team this weekend.

Needless to say, things are looking pretty upside down in the ACC to start the 2021 season.