Keys to Clemson-Missouri Game
Given the nature of Missouri’s pass rush, Woody Dantzler must make the right decisions, and make them quickly.
Here are a few keys to today’s Clemson-Missouri game at Death Valley, as seen through the eyes of a certain sportswriter:
Offensive Line: T.J. Watkins is listed as questionable today due to a sprained ankle he suffered Wednesday in practice. If he can’t go, expect Missouri to load athletic man-child Justin Smith (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) over his replacement, Brady Washburn, for much of the afternoon. Smith rushes the quarterback like few players in the country, and will be licking his chops at the chance to play against a second-string lineman. Clemson will have to find ways to help Washburn handle the talented junior.
Wide receivers: Last week wasn’t much of a test for Clemson’s receiving corps, but this week will be much different. The young group behind senior Rod Gardner must avoid the dropped passes which happened on occasion vs. The Citadel. And with Missouri’s vaunted pass rush, running quick, precise routes is a must.
Quarterback: Woody Dantzler was wonderful against The Citadel (16-of-17, 192 yards, 3 touchdowns), but both he and the coaching staff acknowledged there were occasions when he missed receivers open further down field. Given the nature of Missouri’s pass rush, Dantzler must make the right decisions, and make them quickly.
Defense line: Starting defensive tackle Jason Holloman is on the shelf with a sprained ankle. Gary Childress will start in his place. Missouri’s offensive line outweighs Clemson’s defensive line by an average of 308-271. The Tigers’ front four must find a way to offset the size difference and establish a push upfield, freeing linebacker Keith Adams and Co. to make big plays, not ALL the plays.
Dan Scott is the sports editor of Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Daily Messenger.
His columns can be read at www.dailyjournalmessenger.com.