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What To Watch For: Clemson Tigers

NCAA Football: Clemson at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports


I know this seems obvious but I think the way they get after DJU in this game will be interesting to see. Clemson’s offensive line is better but they are so unbalanced from a performance standpoint that I could see Bryan Brown looking to exploit the right side of the offensive line. Clemson is very good on the left side of their offensive line and the likelihood of them winning that battle isn’t all that likely even with my full belief that UofL’s pass rush is one of the best in the country.

However, the right side of Clemson’s offensive line is fairly putrid when it comes to pass blocking. Blake Miller is a true freshman right tackle and he has given up a lot of pressures and hurries. Their right guard, Walker Parks (from Lexington), has somehow graded out more poorly than Miller.

I say all of that to say this. Bryan Brown may look to call his pressures based on what side of the field Clemson is on. If they’re on the left hash, he should have Yaya Diaby and Yasir Abdullah coming off the right side with Momo or someone else blitzing to confuse the protection or just beat it. Maybe he flips that and rushes four and lets those two just win the matchup and he plays coverage behind them. However he schemes it up, I think the defense will have some success when Clemson is on the left hash.


I’ll start by saying that things for Clemson aren’t nearly as bad as they’re being made out to be. But they’re not great either. Syracuse made them look completely unprepared in the first half of their game. Wake Forest seemed to exploit a lack of an ability to adjust on defense. Big plays were needed to take out FSU. Then you have the Notre Dame game that was not even near as close as the final score.

Can Louisville throw some curveballs in this game that would make it tough on the staff? Maybe just getting out to a lead could be a bigger deal in this game than in others. Clemson’s offense hasn’t been very explosive and the defense has had issues stopping the run. I’m not certain this Clemson staff would react well to the adversity of a halftime deficit against a team that has played well in the second half.

This is one of those things that I think is worth keeping an eye on because I think it flies under the radar a bit. Clemon may come into this game pissed off after an embarrassing loss but what coach on their staff even knows how to drive that mentality?


We’re continuing our streak of expecting things that aren’t likely. Clemson’s defense had a rough game last week but it was still out of the ordinary. The talent of this group allows them to be still dominant and makes it very hard to get points because they cause so many havoc plays. Clemson is among the national leaders in tackles for loss and sacks and they also have a lot of PBUs on the season.

What bodes well for UofL is that they have run the ball very well recently. Coming off of a game where they had two running backs top one hundred yards is big but the Louisville running backs have averaged 155 yards rushing and 4.8 yards per carry over the four-game winning streak. That type of output would go a long way to getting a win this weekend.


I hate that this is the case but I can’t see a game where the crowd doesn’t factor into how Louisville plays. The Louisville offensive line has been good this year when it comes to penalties but this crowd will be loud and they will be rowdy. Clemson does everything it can to create noise and at the end of the day, crowd noise is impossible to ignore. We saw Tennessee’s offensive line jump repeatedly down in Athens last week and Clemson has an atmosphere that is similar even if it’s not comparable.

Another factor that the crowd brings is energy. We’ve seen it during the Louisville win streak and the players have asked for it. The crowd adds juice and when you’re coming off an embarrassing loss, you need a crowd that will give you an edge. Clemson has a young team in a lot of areas and their coaches have made it known that they don’t have the vocal leadership they’re used to having. they can take any bit of help they can get in a big game for their season.