1) Get out of the gates early – The last two years Clemson has put the heat on South Carolina early in the game. South Carolina comes into the game with a full head of steam, and a quick start by Clemson could take the steam out of their engine. The Tigers need to jump out early and take the crowd out of the game. The defense needs to prevent South Carolina from scoring on their first position.
2) Put together a balanced attack – James Davis made the call for another tombstone earlier in the week and much of the outcome will be on his and Reggie Merriweather’s shoulders. The Tigers will need to force the Gamecocks up on the line of scrimmage and create some opportunities for a big play in the passing game.
3) NO SPECIAL TEAMS MISTAKES!!!! – This is the major area of concern. The Tigers’ punt game has been awful this season. The Tigers cannot afford to give any momentum to the Gamecocks on a special team’s mistake. A blocked punt could cost the Tigers the game. It was three special team mistakes that led to the 14 points by FSU. If the special teams can just break even, it puts Clemson in a good position to win.
4) Keep Rice out of the endzone – Sydney Rice is playing like an All-American candidate at wide receiver. Clemson will not be able to completely shut down Rice. The goal will be similar to the goal against Calvin Johnson, keep him out of the endzone. South Carolina is going to look to get the ball in his hands an quick screens and slants. Tye Hill has made big improvements in his play at the line of scrimmage, and he will need a big game Saturday night.
5) Pressure Mitchell – The defense will need to put consistent pressure on Mitchell all night. Mitchell is difficult to sack because he does a good job of getting the ball away. Clemson will need to pressure him and force him into bad throws and bad decisions. If Mitchell has time, he will be able to find holes in the Clemson secondary. It is easier to hide a weakness at corner, when you get good pressure on the quarterback.