Steve Addazio knows what a good defensive front looks like when he sees it. From 2005-’10 he practiced against some of the best defensive linemen in the country when he was the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator at Florida.
His offensive lines in Gainesville, Ga., also had to play against the likes of Alabama, LSU, Tennessee and Georgia every year so he knows what he is saying when he says he has seen defensive fronts as talented as the one he and his Boston College Eagles will face on Saturday in Death Valley.
“But they’re few and far between,” the Boston College head coach said Wednesday during the ACC Coaches Teleconference. “This is an elite defensive line. There’s no question. They’re very, very talented. We play in a conference full of extremely talented defensive fronts. I came from a conference before this one that was full of those.”
Clemson (3-0, 1-0 ACC) heads into the game with the Eagles tied for first in the country in sacks with 16 and 10th nationally in tackles for loss with 26. Of the 16 sacks, 10.5 have come from the Tigers’ defensive front, led by Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence and Austin Bryant. They also have combined for 13 tackles for loss as a group.
“This is an elite defensive front, with great talent and size,” Addazio said. “They’re big, they’re physical, they’re explosive and they’re athletic. I mean, there are a lot of good components to them. I think their back end is as good as anybody in the country. They’re talented.”
The Tigers rank eighth nationally and are tied for first in the ACC in total defense, yielding just 223.3 yards per game. Clemson also ranks eighth nationally in scoring defense (10.0 ppg), 16th against the run (91.0) and 18th in pass defense (132.3).
“They’re what you would think when you’re saying, ‘Here is a team that just won the national championship.’ Well, that’s what you would think, and that’s what you get,” Addazio said. “You get a very, very talented team that’s well put together.”
That will not be an easy task for a Boston College offense that ranks 13th in the ACC in scoring offense (17.7) total offense (348.0), 13th in passing (189.7) and 10th in rushing offense.
“Our guys are preparing really hard,” Addazio said. “We’ve had a great week. Our team’s improving as well each week. Really looking forward to getting down there and playing a marquee team, letting it all hang out a little bit, being as physical, tough and relentless as we can be. It should be a great week of football.”