Coaches talk anonymously about strengths, weaknesses for 12-0 Clemson
|Friday, December 6, 2019, 9:52 AM-|
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney made the statement this week that his 12-0 Tigers are ahead of the pace set by the first team to ever go 15-0, his 2018 Clemson team.
Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel asked six coaches who faced Clemson this year what they thought of the Tigers ahead of their ACC Championship Game with Virginia on Saturday (7:30 p.m./ABC).
One coach lauded Brent Venables studying Iowa State's three-down lineman scheme that's been used quite a bit this season.
“If they had the same war daddies up front, would they have changed their defense? No way," one coach told Yahoo. "If they had the same guys, there’s no need to change. Yeah, they do not have the same guys up front. They changed their defense. I thought it was a gutsy move that paid off big-time.”
Another coach said the talent, outside of Isaiah Simmons, isn't at an elite level in the back-even but they execute the scheme set by Venables. Another identified All-ACC safety Tanner Muse as one to target in coverage.
“There’s quite a few teams that have a better collection of linebackers and safeties,” said one coach. “They have some do-right guys.”
“He’s (Muse) a really good player and has made a lot of plays, but he’s a little bit stiff and you can get him in space and in the pass game and make some plays," a coach said.
On the offensive side of the ball, Trevor Lawrence was noted to be forcing things early but has improved as the season has gone on. Lawrence is currently on a run of 147 pass attempts without an interception, with 19 touchdown passes in that span over 5 3/4 games.
“He’s got a cannon of an arm,” said one coach. “He looks like Zeus back there. He’s got a massive frame and can take shots. He’s the real deal.”