Coming off of a thrilling victory at Florida State, No. 3 Clemson now shifts its focus to Syracuse. Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott and several players met with the media on Monday to discuss the weekend’s accomplishment and the upcoming challenge.
Here is what we heard:
Scott said that before the Tigers (8-0, 5-0 ACC) took off for Tallahassee, Hall of Fame head coach Grant Teaff stopped by Clemson to visit with the coaches. Teaff mentioned to the coaches he likes the confidence Clemson has in its ability to come back and win games late.
“‘The thing I really notice about your guys is that it is one thing to get in a situation in the fourth quarter and have a big drive and hope that you can get it done. It is another thing to know that you can do it because you have done it before,’” Scott said about what Teaff told him. “Just having that in the back of your mind is very powerful and strong for you the rest of the year.”
Teaff’s observation was very relevant to the outcome of Clemson’s matchup with Florida State, and Scott said he knew his team was going to score on that final drive.
“There was no doubt looking in those guys’ eyes, we were going to go score. It may have happened a little faster than we all thought it was going to happen with a couple of plays,” Scott said. “There is no one else in the country we want leading that team than Deshaun Watson. He has faith and trust in his guys out there and they have the same faith and trust in him. It was very well executed.”
Florida State’s Dalvin Cook gave Clemson trouble with his 169 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Linebacker Ben Boulware said he underestimated just how fast the Seminole running back was.
“Dude’s fast,” Boulware said. “His second gear is probably faster than Lamar Jackson. I didn’t realize going into it that he had that second gear because we fit it perfectly, but we were just a little too heavy on him and he was fast enough to bounce it outside.”
Moving on to this Saturday’s matchup, Scott and the defensive players noted Syracuse’s speed and the tempo that The Orange plays with. Defensive back Ryan Carter said going up against a high-tempo offense in practice helps Clemson’s defense prepare for the challenge.
“They are definitely a tempo oriented team but I feel like we are used to that at practice because we get a lot of that tempo, tempo, tempo, so its not like something we wouldn’t be used to. They are definitely going at a high speed so we are going to have to get lined up as fast as we can,” Carter said.
Having the ability to rotate in fresh players on the defensive line will also be helpful for when the Tigers face off with Syracuse’s tempo. Defensive end Austin Bryant made himself known against Florida State with his 1.5 tackles for loss. Bryant said he feels great and he is happy to be back and contributing to his team’s success.
“This was the best I’ve felt since I came back from injury. It was good to see all the rehab and hard work pay off,” he said.