Plenty of good things to talk about this week before Georgia Tech comes to town.
— Clemson’s defense looked much better in the second half against Boston College. Cornerback Garry Peters saw significant playing time, and most notably, a pass break-up and interception against the Eagles will give the sophomore a chance to start this week. One-on-one coverage in the second half was much improved, and that will be key this week against the Yellow Jackets and the triple option.
“I laugh when people say we don’t have talent [on defense]. We don’t have a lot of experience on defense but we are getting better. We are getting better. I’d go back and recruit all of these guys all over again. We have a lot of guys who are playing a lot and who may not be ready for their role but I’m proud of them. We have a great defensive staff. They aren’t guys that don’t work on things every day. I’m encouraged, not discouraged.”
— Nuk Hopkins is better than most team’s number one wide receiver. He had 11 catches for 197 yards and one touchdown against Boston College. Today, Coach Swinney said of Hopkins:
“I’ve been with Nuk for three years now so I see him in practice every day. He’s been awesome since then. He wasn’t quite ready as a true freshman, but he was the best we had. He was only 180 pounds then now he’s over 200. He was a great freshman. Not a great wide receiver, but a great freshman. Last year he took another step. He was a great sophomore. And now he’s on his way. Eventually he’s going to be a great NFL player. He does things now that we are numb to it because he does it every day. He’s got a gift and now he’s put the technical part with it.”
— The questions about this year’s offensive line have been answered.
“After five games I’d say the arrow is way up for this group. I didn’t think we played well in the first half Saturday night. Second half was much better. B.C. played some odd fronts and slanted some guys and they didn’t make some one-on-one blocks. They didn’t finish. Having said that our lineman of the week was David Beasley. A year ago I didn’t know if this guy was going to play. He was awesome. Must have loved the cold weather up there or something. After five games for me to be telling you he’s our lineman of the week – man – he’s improved. Old Shatley is a veteran over there. Then there’s Giff. He probably had his worst game Saturday in Boston but he’s solid. We are maturing on the offensive line. We have just one senior. I’m very encouraged.” – Coach Swinney
— Sammy Watkins will be back after missing the Boston College game with illness.
“He looked great. You’d never know three days earlier he was being rushed to the hospital. That was a crazy situation. As they kind of explained it to me it was a perfect storm. Virus, dehydration and then probably some type of trauma where he got hit somewhere. It was a very dangerous thing. But everything is great. He’s back at it. Hopefully we can get his record above .500 because we are 1-1 with him this year.” – Coach Swinney
— Georgia Tech beat Clemson 31-17 last year, and quarterback Tevin Washington had 176 rush yards and a rushing touchdown. How do you stop the triple option? Pressure the quarterback, first and foremost. Can Clemson rely on just approach that with the lack of pass-rush the front four and linebackers have been able to generate thus far this season? Most likely, not. The secondary will have to play well and not get caught flat-footed on those couple of times Paul Johnson does opt for the play action pass.
This week, I’ll have posts on stopping the triple option and a more in-depth preview of Clemson vs. Georgia Tech. Kickoff will be Saturday at 3:35p.m. on ESPN.