Swinney says Louisville will be a handful.
Swinney says Louisville will be a handful.

Swinney says Louisville's offense, moving defense, will be a handful this weekend


by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says the Louisville Cardinals are a handful and will pose plenty of problems for the Tigers this weekend.

Clemson (5-3 overall and 4-2 in the ACC), will face the Cardinals 7:30 pm Saturday (ACC Network). Clemson is 6-0 all-time against Louisville and is attempting to win in its first seven games against a school for the third time all-time and the second time against a school presently in the FBS. The Tigers previously won each of their first seven all-time contests in series with Furman and Virginia.

The Cardinals will be tough at home.

“This is another team that's way better than their record. This is a 4-4 team, but they are a handful,” Swinney said during his Tuesday press conference. “They are very well-coached. (Scott) Satterfield (Cards head coach) has his guys playing hard. They do a good job with their schemes. Their quarterback (Malik Cunningham) is another great player. Seems like every single week I look up and we're playing a freak show at quarterback. He's got a great skill set, an excellent runner and an excellent passer. He's accurate. He will take shots. They want to run the ball, too. There are six teams in the country averaging 200 yards rushing and passing and Louisville is one of them. They lead the country in plays of 70 yards or more.

"They have good backs, good receivers, their tight end is their leading receiver, and they use him in a lot of different ways. It starts with them running the ball, though. They do a good job of splitting you and dividing your defense. It'll be the biggest game we will have had from a communication standpoint. We have to win the line of scrimmage ... simple as that. We can't let them get their run game going. They can really create explosives.”

Swinney says Louisville will be a handful.
Swinney says Louisville will be a handful."

Louisville is 95th overall in total defense nationally but Swinney said the Cards’ movement provides a challenge.

"Defensively, they have changed a little bit. Early part of the year there was a lot of coverage. Lately, it's a lot of pressure,” he said. “Same thing, a really good group and well-coached. They have some veteran guys. No. 22 (Yasir Abdullah) is disruptive. No. 9 (CJ Avery) has played 100 games and is their heart and soul. They have some big, disruptive guys up front. It's always a tough place to play. They've got good players across the board.”

He said that the offense will have to be ready for what Louisville shows on defense.

"It's nothing they haven't seen, but they still have to do a great job,” Swinney said. “Louisville has every cloud (coverage), every roll and coverage, everything you can think of in their scheme. It depends on how the game is going and how we run the ball."

Swinney was asked about how Cunningham compares to Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader and FSU’s Jordan Travis.

"He's a stronger runner than Travis. He's more elusive than Shrader,” Swinney said. “He's dangerous and has more experience as a quarterback. This guy has played a lot of football. He's an accurate thrower and can push the ball down the field. He understands their scheme. That matters. He has a really good feel for defensive football, structure and coverage."

Swinney said the Tigers will have to play disciplined football.

“They have their own nuances within their scheme but there are some similarities with the other teams we have faced. They're always trying to divide your defense,” he said. “Guys are getting hit backside and you have to play the boots, too. You can't over-pursue. You have to keep him contained. You have to keep him in the pocket. You can't let him just be a free runner. If you do let him out, you still have to have someone playing the backside. It only takes a little crease. It will be a challenge for us. We have to win the line of scrimmage and be very disciplined."

Injuries

"Injury-wise, I don't really have an update. We have some guys who are day-to-day. No one I can say is out, no one you don't already know about. Hopefully we'll get some of these guys a little bit better and ready to go."

On keeping Justyn Ross in the slot

“We'll keep moving him around. He's really done that his whole career. One of his biggest plays in his freshman year was from the slot. We will formation him where we need him to be. Beaux Collins has really come on. Getting EJ (Williams) back is big. (Joseph) Ngata has been pretty consistent for us. We missed him some as well and didn't have him for the Pitt game. It gives us some flexibility with Ross. And he had a heck of a game last week. He's a guy you'll continue to see us formation him where we need him to be."

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