In keeping with the “Is this fake nice? I can’t tell” brand of Clemson football, Dabo Swinney and the rest of the Tiger coaching staff has a habit of saying things about their upcoming opponents that seem almost overly complimentary.
Louisville, which will head to South Carolina later this week as a 39-point underdog, made the staff reach farther than they ever have before, but they definitely got it done.
For starters, there’s this from Dabo Swinney:
“They’re the best 2-6 team I’ve seen. I don’t know how else to say it. Their record is not indicative of the players that they have.”
And co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, how do you feel about a Cardinal defense that ranks 115th in scoring defense, 103rd in total defense, 124th in team sacks and 122nd in tackles for loss?
“They are still very talented and they got a lot of D-linemen that they roll in there. The linebackers are big. They got a couple of explosive guys in the secondary, still young at some spots. That’s what you are seeing more so than anything is more of the youth is starting to show up as you get later in the season. They are very capable. They got some really good looking bodies on that defensive line that flash at times. If they put it all together, they are going to be scary.”
Dabo, anything to add?
“You look at their defensive line, they’ve got some guys. They’ve got a bunch of guys. They’ve got a good scheme on that side of the ball. They’re aggressive. They’ve had some short fields that they’ve had to deal with along the way. But this is not a 2-6 football team. That’s what their record is, but that’s not indicative of the type of talent that they have on this team.”
You keep saying that ....
Let’s flip things over to the offensive side of the ball, where Louisville ranks 114th in scoring offense and 112th in total offense. Brent Venables, try and paint that pretty.
“I see a good looking football team. I know if you go back and look at the beginning of the year, coach Petrino’s never been one to make all these declarations and ‘We’re gonna be this. We’re gonna be this. We’re gonna be this.’ He kind of calls it how it is. He felt this was his most talented team. He felt this was his fastest team and his most explosive team. He felt that they’d be a little more consistent this year post Lamar Jackson. They’ve had a lot of opportunities to win a lot of their games. You’ve gotta make layups. We know what that’s like. If you’re not making layups it’s hard to get into a rhythm and it’s hard to win.”
Unbelievable. And by the way, “they’ve had a lot of opportunities to win a lot of their games” is just a straight lie. Straight lie.
Let’s wrap things up by tossing the mic back to Dabo one last time:
“These guys right here, man… They’re physical. This is as well a coordinated offensive scheme as we’ve gone against. They do a great job schematically. Big, huge offensive line. Probably the biggest offensive line we’ve played. Massive up front. As good a group of receivers as we’ve played... The way they’re style of play, you better have your mind right, because if not they can embarrass you pretty quick with their style.”
Our play can definitely lead to embarrassment, I’ll agree with that.
It’s hard to hate on Clemson for this, but it’s also hard not to leave with the same feeling you have when you drive away from Chick-fil-A. Nobody is this nice.