Monday Insider: Lawrence recalls time Muse intercepted him, expects Miami smack talk


by - Senior Writer -
Lawrence speaks with the media Monday.
Lawrence speaks with the media Monday.

A tropical storm named Delta is gathering strength in the Atlantic and a bunch of Hurricanes in Miami are preparing for a Saturday in Death Valley. Welcome to Miami week in Clemson.

The No. 1 Tigers have opened as a double-digit favorite (15 points as of publishing time) over the No. 7 Hurricanes in a battle of 3-0 teams (7:30 pm, ABC).

Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, defensive coordinator Brent Venables and several player met with the media Monday to discuss the matchup, and the following is a quick news and notes from those interviews:

Tony Elliott

*Says the offense got behind the chains too much against Virginia and had too many 3rd-and-long situations. Too many mistakes that put them in the hole early in drives.

*Miami has great athletes on the edge on defense, says defensive end Jaelan Phillips from Miami reminds him of former NC State and current Denver Bronco defensive end Bradley Chubb.

*Elliott laughed when he was asked if Trevor Lawrence throws interceptions in practice and if defensive players celebrate. He said if guys do get an interception then they know they don’t need to celebrate too much because Lawrence is a competitor.

*Elliott says the Travis Etienne’s ability to catch the football has changed dramatically, mentioned a route at South Carolina a few years ago when he never even got his hands up to break the spiral. Elliott says his protections also need to improve.

*On Brannon Spector, Elliott says he is playing behind Amari Rodgers and Rodgers is playing at a high level. But Spector had a great night against Virginia and needs to play a little more. He needs more opportunity and they will push him each week to get on the field more.

*Elliott says he has a ton of respect for Miami. Elliott said you need good rivals and teams that will challenge you and Miami is getting there in the ACC. They are excited to have the challenge this weekend.

*Rodgers looks like a running back and then after the catch he runs like a running back.

*Back to Miami’s defense – they do a good job of penetration and they have speed and athleticism off the edge. Clemson knows they have to handle the line of scrimmage, the safety is good, both corners are good. They will be a big challenge.

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence

*It is a lot of fun to have a matchup where both teams are talking a lot. He said this will be a great atmosphere in the Valley, a night game, and these types of games are so much fun to be a part of.

*He hasn’t seen a lot on the Miami defense yet, but they line up and try and beat you and don’t want to confuse you like Virginia. They have the playmakers and can be successful that way. They trust their guys and have a lot of athletes. Virginia did a good job of switching it up.

*He says it’s good to see Miami getting back to their swag and becoming a powerhouse again. He knows that talking a big game on the field is a part of what they do. They are figuring out how to put it all together as a group.

*On his long streak without an interception (315 passes), Lawrence said he really doesn’t think about carrying it over from last season. It has been a big emphasis for him this season. He said he threw four or five in camp and doesn’t know how many since the season has started. Says Tanner Muse picked him off last year and threw the ball back at Trevor from 30 yards away. Lawrence threw one right to defensive end KJ Henry and it hit Henry in the hands and he dropped it, so Lawrence hasn’t let him live that down.

*Says he trusts all of his receivers but Amari Rodgers is a guy he really trusts. On the throw for the TD against UVa in the back of the endzone, he saw the defender had his back turned and made the throw knowing Rodgers would make it.

*Lawrence says that Etienne reminds him of pro running back Alvin Kamara.

Brent Venables

*Venables on Tyler Davis – says he is a really good player, plays with quickness, says they missed him but felt like they played well without him. Says UVa threw the ball on sprints and boots so not sure how much Davis would have made a difference. Says Davis is excited to be back and is ready to play. Could have played against Virginia but decided to hold him because a little more rest would help and feels like that will serve him well in the long haul.

*Venables says Miami offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee does a very good job in evolving his offense and using his personnel and playing to their strengths. At Miami, he has featured really good tight ends with the Hurricanes to go with talented skill position players all around.

*Venables says D’Eriq King can throw the ball consistently well and is like a running back when he wants to run. He has great poise as well. He’s excited for the challenge to prepare for him. He says they have to improve as a team even before preparing for King specifically. He has quite a list going for improvements ahead of Saturday’s game. He says containing Miami starts with their run game. He says their skill position talent rivals anybody nationally. He says they are hungry and playing as well as anybody in college football right now.

* Venables says Miami’s offense “puts you in conflict” defensively but he embraces the opportunity. There is less margin for error play to play. Having success against it makes it more fulfilling on the other side.

*He says Miami’s tight ends are the best tandem they have faced. He says they are very talented.

*Last week’s game was big for Andrew Booth in terms of confidence. Booth was still recovering from an injury early in his career and then came here having played really only Cover-3 in high school. He is making his way now and having success can only help him down the road. He compares Booth’s length to a praying mantis.

*Venables was asked about Clemson’s success against tight ends recently and he said they have changed their schemes a little bit and have been a little bit better. He also says it might be a little cyclical but they better be ready this week because the Miami tight ends can embarrass you for sure.

LB James Skalski

OG Matt Bockhorst

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