|by David Hood|
Williams and the rest of Clemson’s defense will have the unenviable task of stopping Georgia’s high-powered offense, led by senior quarterback Aaron Murray and sophomore running back Todd Gurley. Murray threw for over 3,800 yards last season, and Gurley rushed for 1,385 yards during his freshman campaign.
However, in that loss to South Carolina last year, Murray was just 11-for-31 for 109 yards and an interception, while Gurley managed just 39 yards on 13 carries. Overall, Georgia rushed for just 115 yards and had 224 yards of total offense on the day, and Williams said that he has been paying special attention to that game film.
“In the South Carolina game, they took over that game and intimidated them from the opening kickoff,” Williams said after Monday’s practice. “In other games, Georgia just overpowered guys. We watched the South Carolina game, the Florida game and the Alabama game because they do similar things like we do on defense. But that South Carolina game really stuck out to me, because South Carolina just got after them and showed their power on defense. They let their front take over the game and it showed.”
Williams said the entire defensive line understands that stopping the dynamic tandem of Gurley and Keith Marshall will be one of the keys to slowing down Georgia’s offense.
“With the Ipads we have, we have watched film. Gurley is a strong back, and I didn’t realize how fast he was until I watched film,” Williams said. “D.J. [Reader] and those North Carolina guys, they were telling us that he is a track star. And in that Florida game, he outran their whole team. Marshall has that straight line speed and you have to make him go sideline to sideline. Gurley, you just have to hit him before he gets momentum, because once he gets momentum he is hard to stop.”
Getting pressure on Murray, who has been known to throw the ball into coverage from time to time, will also be a key.
“We know he is a great quarterback and he can run the ball, too,” Williams said. “We have to keep him in the pocket. We have to get pressure on him early. We watched that South Carolina game, and they got pressure on him early. That is what we have to do.”
Williams said that preparing for an opener like the one against Georgia has made camp go by faster than the past two years.
“I told Grady [Jarrett] that this camp went by faster than previous camps,” he said. “I can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel. But next week is game week, and that is crazy how fast it got here. It also makes you change your attitude – we aren’t opening against Furman or somebody like that. We are opening against a powerhouse team. To be the best, you have to play against the best. And that is what we want to be.”
David Hood can be reached at email@example.com