Clemson O-line ready to take on another elite defense

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd fades back to pass near left tackle Brandon Thomas during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd fades back to pass near left tackle Brandon Thomas during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

LSU d-line comparable to those Clemson's played

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— When Clemson’s Chick-fil-A Bowl matchup with LSU was set Sunday, it would have been reasonable to think “second verse, same as the first.”

Two weeks ago, the Tigers faced off with another physical SEC defensive line in South Carolina, and it didn’t go well.

The Gamecocks piled up six sacks – 4.5 from sophomore All-America defensive end Jadeveon Clowney – in a 27-17 victory.

LSU also features a very talented, tough defensive line. Junior defensive end Sam Montgomery, a Greenwood native, has 32 tackles, seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss. Junior end Barkevious Mingo has 33 tackles, four sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss.

In fact, six Tigers have at least three sacks on the season.

“They’re a really stout defensive line,” said junior right guard Tyler Shatley. “We’ve faced some pretty good guys like South Carolina had, but I think LSU, they’re really good. They’ve got a lot of depth.”

Senior center Dalton Freeman agreed.

“It’s a great opportunity for us and the offensive line, the whole team, to see where we stand as a unit and as a program,” he said. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for everyone involved.”

They’re an all-around solid group, Shatley said.

“From what I’ve watched, they play really hard, there are some big guys who run fast,” Shatley said. “I think that’s the key. They play really hard and really aggressive.”

Entering the South Carolina game, Clemson had allowed 20 sacks through 11 games. The previous two weeks, Maryland and N.C. State entered Memorial Stadium as the ACC’s sack leaders. Both left with no sacks.

So what happened? And was it All-ACC junior left tackle Brandon Thomas’ fault?

Not exactly, Freeman said.

“There were some physical things. We did simply get beat a couple of times,” Freeman said. “There were also a couple of times when Tajh (Boyd) rolled and Clowney got a couple of sacks and it was credited to our right tackle. It wasn’t even the same side. The right tackle and right end moved and ran into our left tackle and that caused Clowney to free up. It’s just a game, things like that happen. “

Momentum, Freeman said, was also a factor.

“We got down and had to press a little bit, probably pressed too much,” he said. “They were able to pin their ears back and start rushing the passer. I think if we were able to keep the momentum, keep the lead and stop them on that critical third down (before USC took the lead), a lot would have changed.”

They’ll have one more opportunity to change those feelings on New Year’s Eve.

“You hate to lose the last game of the season, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth for a long time,” Shatley said. “Hopefully we can get that out.”

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Comments » 4

smabrown writes:

"AGGRESSIVE PLAY", there should be no other kind. These guys need to believe they are just as good as anyone in the country and it doesn't sound that way. Sounds like these attitudes need adjusting. Enough already about how good they are! You better start believing in your selves and knowing that you are the best otherwise you never will be. Let's get aggressive!

Bleedsorange writes:

in response to smabrown:

"AGGRESSIVE PLAY", there should be no other kind. These guys need to believe they are just as good as anyone in the country and it doesn't sound that way. Sounds like these attitudes need adjusting. Enough already about how good they are! You better start believing in your selves and knowing that you are the best otherwise you never will be. Let's get aggressive!

I'm going to have to disagree with you on that one but don't take offense there have been a lot of people with that tone lately. But here is a simple fact I have a hard time believing our guys don't play aggressive or "try" hard enough when we are talking about kids in their twenties being watched on TV by every scout, their mommas, God and every body trying to look good enough to make more money on a week in the future than most of us make in a year. But I could be wrong but I think plain and simple we win most lose a few.

TigerMarine writes:

I think sma meant more the attitude aspect. "were going to have to" not confident like "we're going to need to perform like we have" for example. Our guys play their hearts out BUT most of em are young yet so the mastery of the sport and confidence are still maturing. Our tigers will grow and make us all very happy very soon. GO TIGERS !!!!

accisawesomnot writes:

Tyler says “We’ve faced some pretty good guys like South Carolina had, but I think LSU, they’re really good. They’ve got a lot of depth.”
Is that a shot at SCAR defense? Or does he think LSU has a much better "really" good defense compared to SCAR? Either way, if SCAR whooped up on the taters at home, imagine what LSU will do to them on neutral territory. And if SCAR beat them up and LSU is so much better, do the taters really have a chance at winning? Not hardly! It will be another embarrassing night of reality for Clemson, exposing them as a mediocre team. GO Clemson! Beat LSU!

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