Keys to Georgia Tech Game
1. Improve the running game
For all the talk about what a great preseason Yusef Kelly had - which he did - Clemson averaged just 2.4 yards per rush last week vs. Wake Forest. True, it was a veteran Demon Deacon defense returning nine starters, but most expected a full spring and preseason of concentration on the running game to yield better results. Watch for two things here: First, the offensive lineman must do a better job of sustaining blocks for longer periods of time. Against Wake, holes would open initially but would collapse by the time Kelly reached the line of scrimmage. Secondly, look for more carries for both Kyle Browning and Reggie Merriweather, as head coach Tommy Bowden tries to throw different styles at Georgia Tech.
2. Stop the run.
Wake Forest tailback Chris Barclay had another field day running against Clemson's defense last week, but much has been made of the Deacs' unusual blocking style and misdirection/cutback running. Georgia Tech should be a better test of the Tigers' defensive front, figuring to attack the Clemson defensive front with a more traditional rushing attack. P.J. Daniels is the leading returning tailback in the ACC from a year ago, although the Tigers held him to less than 40 yards in last season's 39-3 win in Atlanta. To duplicate that feat Clemson defenders must tackle much better than they did last week.
3. Develop a killer instinct
Sure, it's only the second game of 11 on the schedule, but it's never too early to develop good habits. One of the best is simple - when you've got a foot on the opponent's throat, go ahead and snap the neck. Ahead 19-3 and rolling last week, Clemson let Wake Forest not only steal the momentum, but ultimately grab a 27-19 lead before the Tigers rallied to win in double overtime. Sometimes it takes an experience such as a week ago for teams to understand the concept of developing that killer instinct. Give Georgia Tech a second chance at life, and they've got the weapons to make you pay.