7 Clemson - Sports Illustrated Vault | SI.com
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7 Clemson

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OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE

What sticks out to me with Clemson is that the number of dynamic playmakers seems to recycle over time. The team will lose [quarterback] Deshaun Watson [first-round pick of the Texans], and whether it's this year or next year, someone else almost as good will come up through. [Junior] Kelly Bryant may start this year, but the younger guys [four-star recruit Zerrick Cooper and five-star Hunter Johnson] will put the pressure on. They turn over receivers every year, and the next guy is every bit as good as the guy that they lost. [Junior] Deon Cain will be the next guy. When I watch them I don't sit there and say, Boy they've got all the answers and everything covered. A lot of times the players cover it more than the scheme does.

These guys are well-coached and very good fundamentally within what they do. There's a reason that they've hung [75 points] on Alabama the last two years. It's that they have what we call multiples; they don't have one guy that has 90 catches and everybody else is at 20 or something like that. It's spread out.

HUNTER RENFROW [5'11", 180-pound junior receiver] is fast and tough and runs good routes. Dexter Lawrence [a 6'5", 340-pound sophomore DT] is dominant. You can see his explosion and get-off. Up front, they don't ask those [D-linemen] to do too much; they just go play.

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % (8TH)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT (31ST)

COMPLETION % (7TH)

YARDS PER CARRY (73RD)

SACKS ALLOWED (32ND)

TURNOVERS LOST (121ST)

POINTS PER DRIVE (23RD)

YARDS PER PLAY (34TH)

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % ALLOWED (4TH)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT ALLOWED (1ST)

COMPLETION % ALLOWED (10TH)

YARDS PER CARRY ALLOWED (24TH)

SACKS (3RD)

TURNOVERS GAINED (10TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE ALLOWED (8TH)

YARDS PER PLAY ALLOWED (5TH)

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RATING

51

A visit from Auburn (9/9) offers a shot at a big nonconference win early, and Clemson hosts Florida State (11/11). Still, the Tigers' ACC schedule is littered with land mines, including road trips to Louisville (9/16), Virginia Tech (9/30) and N.C. State (11/4).

THE PLAYER TO KNOW

It didn't take junior offensive tackle MITCH HYATT long to show why he was a coveted recruit out of North Gwinnett (Ga.) High in the class of 2015. While most linemen need at least a year to get acclimated to the college game, the 6'5", 295-pounder became Clemson's starting left tackle as a freshman. He then anchored a line at the heart of an offense that for two years in a row ranked sixth in the country, according to Football Outsiders' S&P + statistic. With six new starters on offense and quarterback Deshaun Watson gone to the NFL, it will be even more important that Hyatt keep the pocket clean while Watson's replacement—likely to be junior Kelly Bryant—gets settled in.