Tony Elliott just isn’t concerned about one thing when it comes to Miami’s defense, he is concerned about everything.
Though No. 7 Miami, from a statistical aspect, seems average when it visits top-ranked Clemson on Saturday, it is anything but average. The Hurricanes are big strong and fast on the defensive line. Their linebackers get after people and their secondary is long and very physical.
“The biggest thing is stopping the penetration on the defensive line,” Elliott said. “They do a great job of penetrating. Being able to hold up against the speed and the athleticism off the edge. You are going to have to go make contested plays.
“All things that we are used to in games where the talent is equally matched.”
Like any defense, Miami’s goal is to control the line of scrimmage and get after the quarterback. It wants to create negative plays and knock the offense off script.
The Hurricanes (3-0, 2-0 ACC) rank second in the conference in tackles-for-loss, averaging 10.3 per game. They also have 10 sacks this season.
“So, we know we have to handle the line of scrimmage because they are going to be aggressive and they will attack you and then you have to make plays in tight coverage on the backend,” Elliott said.
Miami is allowing 230.3 yards per game through the air and teams are completing 62 percent of their passes. However, a lot of those yards have been allowed after the ‘Canes built big leads against Louisville and Florida State.
The trick for Clemson (3-0, 2-0 ACC) is how will its young receivers hold up against the Hurricanes’ mature, long and physical defensive backs. Can they get off the line of scrimmage and make contested plays like former receivers Tee Higgins, Mike Williams and DeAndre Hopkins made playing against similar competition in big games.
“They are long in the secondary. Both of their corners are very, very long and very athletic. They’re physical at the line of scrimmage,” Elliott said. “So, we are looking forward to it. We are looking forward to the challenge.”
The Tigers’ challenge will kick off at 7:44 p.m. on ABC.
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