OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE
"It starts and ends with [junior] Deshaun Watson. You have to limit his explosive plays by eliminating the run-pass options they use off the inside zone by being firm inside. You want Watson to carry the ball—then you've got to hit him. Passingwise, you've got to force him to play into the pocket because when he gets outside, he's going to create big plays with his feet. You must do a great job with your rush-contain lanes and try to alter his sight angles.
Watson's got game-breaking weapons with [junior] running back Wayne Gallman and [junior] receivers Artavis Scott and Mike Williams. [Senior tight end] Jordan Leggett won't block anybody, but he can catch. The offensive line isn't going to knock anybody off the ball.
They've always been stout on the defensive front, highlighted this year by [senior] tackle Carlos Watkins. Cordrea Tankersley is probably better than departed cornerback Mackensie Alexander, a second-round pick.
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables does a great job, but he's late getting his calls in. That's because they're probably as good as anybody at stealing signals, and Venables is waiting to see your offensive call. [Clemson declined to comment.] And because they're so multiple on defense, they're prone to being out of position. They'll line up late, and you can get a guy running free."
Rank in third-down defense for each of the last two seasons.
Times Deshaun Watson was sacked in 15 games last year, 27th fewest in the country.
Conversion rate on fourth down. The Tigers also succeeded on 46.9% of their third downs, 13th in the nation.
Pairs of teammates who ranked in the top 50 in rushing last season, including running back Wayne Gallman (13th) and Watson (44th).
Rank in kick-return defense in 2015 (24.85 yards per runback).
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5 YEAR TREND
10--4 (ACC CHAMPS)
14--1 (ACC CHAMPS)
Clemson has holes on the defensive line, and tackle DEXTER LAWRENCE's physical attributes suggest he can fill one of them. At 6'5" and 340 pounds, he was the No. 2 overall recruit in the class of 2016 out of Wake Forest (N.C.) High, and coach Dabo Swinney told reporters in the spring that Lawrence runs nearly a five-second 40-yard dash. After enrolling in January to get a jump on the Tigers' complex scheme, he's already on the two-deep. A fast mover indeed.
AT AUBURN [KEY MATCHUP]
SOUTH CAROLINA STATE
AT GEORGIA TECH
LOUISVILLE [KEY MATCHUP]
AT BOSTON COLLEGE
AT FLORIDA STATE [BIGGEST GAME]
AT WAKE FOREST