Bend but don't break: Irish safety says Trevor Lawrence will be a challenge


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Trevor Lawrence celebrates Clemson's 4th ACC title in a row.  (Photo: ACC)
Trevor Lawrence celebrates Clemson's 4th ACC title in a row. (Photo: ACC)

Notre Dame safety Drue Tranquill is hoping the Irish continue their trend of a bend-but-don’t-break defense when the No. 3 Irish collide with Clemson later this month.

No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame play in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on December 29th at 4 pm at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex. The game will be televised by ESPN.

The Irish held a press conference in South Bend Sunday to discuss the College Football Playoff Semifinal game against the Tigers, and Tranquill, a senior safety, says the Irish want to have a bend-but-don’t-break defense against the Tigers and Lawrence, Clemson’s freshman quarterback.

Tranquill also said it helps if Lawrence has other things on his mind.

“We always talk about just making them line up and snap it as many times as possible,” Tranquill said. “The freshman’s got problems too. He’s got girlfriend problems. He’s got school problems. And it just takes one snap of him thinking about that to throw us one or make a mental error.

“So we just talk about, if an offense is going to get going on us, we don’t want to give up explosive plays, and guys like Julian (Love) make that possible for us. I think you’ve seen many times this year on offense, we’ll take on water but they’ll get down and end up missing a field goal or something, and we’ll get our offense back down on the field. We just talk about making him snap as many times as possible to get it into the end zone.”

Cornerback Julian Love says he’s seen a few Clemson games this season and says the defense can’t concentrate on just Lawrence.

“Yeah, that’s part of it for sure, knowing who the quarterback is. You will see a lot of attention being aimed at the quarterback,” Love said. “For me, I like to look at personnel in all aspects of it, what the line is doing, how the receivers play, what they like, what they don’t like. Then kind of for me, I then will look at the tendencies of the quarterback.

“So, I think Trevor Lawrence, he’s done a great job for them this whole year, and he has things that he does well, maybe some things that he doesn’t do well, but I like to look at offenses as a whole rather than aiming at the quarterback. He is young, but he’s shown this year that he is very talented.”

The Irish and Tigers played at Clemson in 2015 and the Tigers escaped with a 24-22 victory in the rain. Tranquill was on that team – he didn’t play because of an injury – but says the Irish are hungry to get a little revenge on the Tigers.

“I mean, any time you lose to a team and get a chance to avenge that loss, obviously, I think it adds a little bit to it,” Tranquill said. “I’m not sure too many guys actually played in that game. I know I didn’t play in that game due to injury, but, yeah, we’re hungry to get after them and get on with our preparation.”

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