Bobby Petrino on Clemson: "It's a loud place"


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Bobby Petrino has been complimentary of Clemson this week
Bobby Petrino has been complimentary of Clemson this week

If the Louisville Cardinals are to take the next step in the ACC, they have to go through Florida State and Clemson to make it to the ACC Championship.

Part one has already been accomplished as the Cardinals destroyed the Seminoles earlier this month, and Louisville has a chance to complete the mission this Saturday as they travel to Death Valley to take on the No. 5 Tigers.

This is a game that Cards head coach Bobby Petrino and his staff have been preparing for, for quite some time.

“We spent quite a bit (of time), you know. Obviously when you looked at our schedule and you say what gives you a chance to compete to win the division it goes through Florida State and Clemson,” Petrino said in his weekly press conference. “And Clemson was in the national championship game last year so we have obviously done a lot of work on them.”

Clemson holds a 2-0 advantage in the series, defeating Louisville 23-17 in 2014 and 20-17 in 2015, but there is one thing that stood to out Petrino from his last trip to Memorial Stadium.

“Is that a trap question? Like a trap game last week. It’s a loud place,” Petrino said. “It’s a good environment. You know, I thought it was a great environment. It’s exciting. It’s fun. You know GameDay will be there, so it will be exciting for everybody. One of the things that after we played them at the end of the season that year anytime, I talked to a fan that traveled to the game they were very complimentary how well the people treated them and how the nice the people were to our fans that went to the game, so that’s one of the things that stuck out to me a lot.”

Petrino said that while the personnel on Clemson’s team has changed since last season, the way they play defense and the offensive firepower has not.

“Like you said there are always different parts and different things but the thing that they do so well on both sides of the ball is they are so sound fundamentally,” he said. “They get off blocks, they run full speed to the ball, they tackle well on defense, they defend plays on defense. Offensively, they do a good job blocking the front and running the football. They have good running backs that run with a lot of power and break tackles and then they are able to throw the ball, too. When you watch them on video you respect their ability to play with great technique and fundamentals.”

The Louisville defense will have its hands full with the Deshaun Watson and the Clemson offense, but Petrino said his defense gets a good look with Lamar Jackson at the helm of the Cards offense.

“I think it probably helps some. Just because they can do both, throw the ball and run the ball,” he said Watson and Jackson. “One thing we know about Deshaun is that he throws the deep ball as well as anybody. That is something he did even as a young freshman, he was one of the great deep ball throwers in the country. And then he is able to tuck the ball and make plays in third down conversions with his legs so that’s always a concern. A quarterback that can run out and make plays when other things break down so that makes us be more discipline in our rush lanes and be able to make sure there is nowhere to go when the coverage is where you need it to be and we don’t want him to run out and get first downs when we cover well.”

Jackson and the Louisville offense, however, will have to contend with Clelin Ferrell, Carlos Watkins, Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins on the defensive line.

“Well they’re big and physical. You know they really do a nice job technically,” he said. “They’re very, very well coached. They have a lot of movement so we’re going to have to block movement with guys that are very big and physical. Probably the biggest defensive line that we’ve played this year. They play with bigger defensive ends than what we’ve been seeing. A lot of guys went to more speed and quickness, and they went to more size and set the edge by the size that they have.”


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