Sledgehammer: Swinney says defending LSU like 'four quarters of inside-drill'

'If you can hold up to that you've got a chance, because then they have to do something they don't want to do'

LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger

(photo by Steve Franz, LSU Sports Information)

LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger (photo by Steve Franz, LSU Sports Information)

Both Clemson and LSU go into every game intent upon controlling the tempo and flow of the game with a unique offensive approach.

Other than the shared bottom-line goal, they have nothing in common.

"They're the total opposite of what we do," said Dabo Swinney on Friday, as the Tigers wrapped up their on-campus preparations for the Chick-fil-A Bowl. "LSU is very committed to a style of play that you just don't see every week. It's similar to Georgia Tech in that way."

Clemson's offense is a mix, Swinney said.

"When people play us, they'll see some spread, some power, some counter, and some two-back," Swinney said. "When you play LSU, it's four quarters of inside-drill. They're highly committed to running the football.

LSU, Clemson polar opposite in style

None

"Very few people have been able to stop their running game. That's where they're going to start. It's a sledgehammer. It's what we call 'paw drill down' every single play. If you can hold up to that, then you've got a chance, because they have to do something they don't want to do."

The problem with this particular LSU team, Swinney said, is that it has shown it can throw the football in times of necessity.

"What they want to do is run the ball and then play-action off of that, max-protect, hit the big play...You can get lulled to sleep, and then here goes a shot downfield and they win 12-10 or 17-14," Swinney said. "But the thing that makes this a great team is their ability to throw the ball when they have to.

"That's not always the case with a team that plays that style of offense."

Swinney said that LSU coach Les Miles has recruited well to his system.

"They're committed to a style and they recruit to that," Swinney said. "They play four or five running backs, and they're all big, powerful runners. And this team can both run and throw the ball."

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