Florida State head coach Willie Taggart said he is not worried about Clemson’s defensive line because the defensive line his offensive line goes against every day in practice is just as good.
If Taggert truly believes this then he should be deeply concerned heading into Saturday’s noon kickoff with No. 2 Clemson because his defensive line must be killing his offensive line in practice.
There is no doubting how good and how talented Clemson’s defensive line is. You don’t need to look at the statistics back it up. Just turn on the tape and watch them play. And that alone should scare Taggart or any opposing head coach for that matter.
However, you don’t need to look at the statistics to see how bad Florida State’s offensive line is, just turn on the tape and you will see.
How bad are the Seminoles up front? Louisville, who has the worst rushing defense in the ACC and is allowing 233.8 rushing yards per game, held Florida State to 76 rushing yards. Syracuse, who ranks 10th in the ACC and is giving up 180 yards per game, held the ‘Noles to 62.
Wake Forest, who Clemson (7-0, 4-0 ACC) ran over for 471 yards, gave up just 132 yards to the Seminoles running game. By the way, the Tigers rushed for 293 yards against Syracuse.
However, Taggart isn’t the only coach who thinks the Seminoles have improved up front. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney thinks FSU has improved up front primarily because they are figuring things out as far where guys are supposed to be.
“Well, I just think they are kind of trying to figure out their personnel and who does what best within their scheme,” he said. “I think they have had some injuries, so they are trying to just get the best combination of the best five to give them a chance.”
The Seminoles (4-3, 2-3 ACC) have improved some. After giving up 10 sacks in the first three games, they have allowed eight in the last four. However, six of those came against Miami, who one can argue has the best defensive line in the ACC outside of Clemson’s.
The Hurricanes lead the ACC in sacks and tackles for loss after seven games.
The ‘Noles have been more consistent up front in the other three games, allowing just two sacks. However, those wins came against Northern Illinois, Louisville and Wake Forest. Obviously, there is a big jump from those defenses compared to Miami’s and Clemson’s.
“They have just been a little bit more consistent on who has been playing where, and I think that has helped them,” Swinney said.
Will it help them this week? If I was Taggert, I would be concerned.
By the Numbers: How bad has FSU’s Offensive Line been?
Avg. rushing yds/game: 98.4 (last in the ACC)
Avg. yards/carry: 2.92 (last in the ACC)
Rushing TDs: 7 (last in the ACC)
Sacks allowed: 18 (11th in the ACC)
Tackles for loss allowed: 61 (last in the ACC)
Tackles for loss/game: 8.7 (last in the ACC)
*Note: FSU has been held under 100 yards rushing 4 times this season and has a season high of 134 vs. Samford.