With Halloween just around the corner, here’s a scary thought for Clemson’s opponents: Sammy Watkins may be Clemson’s most dynamic and dangerous playmaker, but if he is, it’s not by much.
DeAndre Hopkins showed what can happen if opposing defenses pay too much attention to Watkins, as North Carolina did on Saturday, fresh off Watkins’ ESPN ‘Game Day’ feature.
This week, should Georgia Tech err on the side of numbers in defending Hopkins, Watkins, Andre Ellington and Dwayne Allen, it might be Martavis Bryant or Charone Peake or Adam Humphries or Brandon Ford or Mike Bellamy, or even Joe Craig, who’ll shine in a game-changing way.
And if you think the Tigers are loaded now, Dabo Swinney says wait until next year, when his still-young playmakers have a year of experience under their belts.
“It’s something that I started talking to them about last spring,” Swinney said. “We have some really talented young players, and some have to grow up. But as guys continue to emerge, you’re going to see our distribution continue to spread – especially next year. Because some of these extremely talented freshmen that we have are going to be sophomores, and they’re going to be even better.
“There’s not a lot of difference between our skill guys, from a talent standpoint. There’s just not much difference at all, and that’s a real blessing for us.”
Swinney said the Tigers’ evolution into an even more multi-weaponed offensive is a natural progression.
“As those guys continue to improve, physically and mentally, you just go play,” he said. “These guys want to win, and they like being 8-0. That’s the bottom line. They’re an unselfish group, and they know that everybody can have an opportunity to make plays in this scheme, and that we’re not going to just throw it to one guy.
“Now, if we’ve got a guy who’s hot, we’ll get it to him. Or if there’s some huge drop-off, we’ll feature a guy. But as we continue to move forward, that’s what we have to have in this system – multiple playmakers. We have to spread it around, otherwise people can really dial in and defend you.”