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Previewing Clemson at South Carolina: Topics for Discussion on the Tigers' Defense

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Which Clemson defense will show up? The Tigers have the 12th ranked total defense and 20th ranked scoring defense in the country. They've held several decent teams to paltry totals, including a notable game when they held Boston College to 54 yards and 4 first downs. (Actually, you should just look at the box score. The numbers are unreal across the board.) However, they have been known to fall asleep at times. They gave up 37 points and over 400 yards in an overtime game against Miami, 24 points to a horrible Maryland team, 21 points in about five minutes to Georgia Tech; you get the picture. In Clemson's defense, Miami and Georgia Tech are two of the better offenses in the country. Still--as least in those games--this defense has hardly been on a level with the ones we faced when we took on 'Bama and Florida. If they play like they did against BC, though, we'll have a tough road to a victory.

Can we handle the Clemson pass rush? The Tigers are 11th in the country in sacks, and you'd better believe they'll be sending the dogs after one of the country's most sacked quarterbacks. Our line will really need to step it up in this game clearly. It's also worth noting that Clemson almost appears to be overly aggressive at times and often overpursues. That could lead to problems for them against Stephen Garcia, who can make teams pay if they don't take him down. I think our ability to work with this pass rush is really key, as we are a different team on offense when Garcia has just a bit of time to throw. Unfortunatly, that hasn't always been the case.