Herbstreit: 'Frightening' defense has Clemson as Playoff favorite
|2017-09-20 11:46:32.0- -||
ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit is already on the record for ranking Clemson No. 1 after witnessing the Tigers' win at Louisville in person Saturday night.
Wednesday on ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike show, Herbstreit went into detail on not only what makes this Clemson team elite, but how Dabo Swinney sets the program up for success.
"(With) Kelly Bryant's performance, this team is going to execute in a different way,” Herbstreit said. “They are going to run the football more effectively than when they had Deshaun Watson. Will they continue to be able to throw will be the one mystery as they get into some of the tougher games, but I think the answer is gonna be yes.
“They are clearly, in my opinion, the team to beat in the ACC. They look like they are headed back to the playoff. Their defense is frightening. That defensive line, the linebackers, the safeties, the corners. Brent Venables is maybe one of the best defensive minds in the last three years.
"So everything is there. And most importantly, even though they won a championship last year, somehow they found a way to play with a chip on their shoulder. They are mad at everybody and that’s always a good thing when you play football.”
Herbstreit touched on it toward the end of the Clemson-Louisville broadcast, but he said again Wednesday that Swinney's recruiting philosophy stands out, which has the Tigers in another tier.
“I just want to offer up some respect and hopefully people see what the job that Dabo Swinney is doing at Clemson," said Herbstreit. "It’s one thing to sit here and break down X’s and O’s but as you know and it’s human nature anytime you climb the mountain and you haven’t done it in years and you get to the top it’s easy to kind of let the complacency set in. Clemson has arrived to a point, as a program, where they are arm-in-arm with Alabama. They are recruiting at a level that is in a different place - a different galaxy."
How they're getting there sets Clemson apart.
“They are doing an incredible job of recognizing talent," Herbstreit said, "and more importantly, as we’ve been talking a lot about 5-star recruits lately and their entitlement, they do a really good job of recruiting character and kids that fit their culture. They’ll chase guys away after a recruiting weekend because Dabo will talk to his current players and say, ‘Hey, does he fit us?’ And if his players tell him, 'No, he doesn’t,' and he’s a 5-star who runs a 4.3, Dabo will not continue to recruit him.
“So what they do is they have found a formula that works for them, not only for how fast he is and how strong he is, but does he fit our kind of guy. And if the answer is no, they will not recruit him. That’s just background information to know why this Paw, this orange and white and purple team just continues to play the way they have. It’s by design.”
|Send Feedback to Brandon Rink: Email | Comment||