Everything about the Sugar Bowl loss to Ohio State was a humbling experience for Clemson safety Nolan Turner.
To put it frankly, the Tigers were embarrassed, especially on defense. The Clemson defense takes a lot of pride in how it plays. It always wants to be at its best and to never get outworked, out schemed, or outmuscled.
“We got exposed and that is what we have to work on,” Turner said this past spring. “It was obvious, I think, to everybody that watched the game. We have to step up. We got guys growing up. With this off-season… we are going to take advantage of it. We are going to get it right.”
What do the Tigers have to get right? If the Sugar Bowl was any indication, it will start with preparation.
The Buckeyes took advantage of the Tigers’ young defense. They confused them by lining up with the formation to the boundary, then flipping the formation, forcing the defense to quickly adjust, which it did not.
“We just did not play well. We got out (muscled) in that game,” Turner said. “We did a very poor job of adjusting and when those two things are wrong, it is not going to look good for you on any given night. Those are areas we have to get better in.”
Ohio State totaled a bowl record 639 yards against Clemson’s defense, as it had wide receivers running wide open, or so it seemed, all night. Quarterback Justin Fields, who is now playing for the Chicago Bears, threw for 385 yards, while completing 22-of-28 passes and a Sugar Bowl record six touchdowns.
“It was definitely frustrating to be a part of from every aspect,” Turner said.
Clemson hopes to do a much better job when it opens the season on Sept. 4 in Charlotte. The Tigers will play rival Georgia in the season opener as part of the Duke’s Mayo Classic at Bank of America Stadium.
The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on ABC.