The football game begins at the line of scrimmage, and Clemson aims to win from the start. The Tigers’ offensive inconsistencies have been well documented this season, but Clemson’s defense has played at a truly elite level this season thanks to strong defensive line play.
The Tigers are expected to have two players in the top 15 in next year’s NFL draft: Bryan Breese and Myles Murphy. These guys and defensive tackle Tyler Davis make up perhaps the most dominant defense in college football.
While the defensive effectiveness of the Tigers’ defensive front is no secret, the way the front affects the rest of Clemson’s defense, particularly the linebacker unit, is invaluable.
Clemson ranks in the top 20 in the nation for most tackles for loss and sacks, a testament to the impressive efforts of Clemson’s defensive line. If you’re an offensive player, you want your offensive lineman to be able to handle a one-on-one and not have to duplicate any of the defensive linemen.
Unfortunately for teams facing Clemson, it’s just unrealistic to expect your offensive lineman to take on the task of one-on-one reporting against Clemson’s defensive line.
As a team’s offensive line struggles to contain Clemson’s defensive line, linebackers have clear lanes to get to the QB if they choose. Just as an offensive line creates a hole for a running back to run through, Clemson’s defensive line is so dominant that it creates holes for linebackers to quickly get into the backfield.
Whether it’s a pass rush or a big tackle for loss, Clemson’s linebackers can play more aggressively, get into the backfield, and wreak havoc if they choose. Strong play from Clemson’s defensive line also allows the Tigers to get more people under cover and still have a viable pass rush.
Many teams tend to rush more than four when trying to create QB pressure, but Clemson doesn’t necessarily have to worry about that since the defensive line is so adept at winning at the scrimmage line.
Clemson prides himself on his devastating defensive line that has been terrorizing attacks all season. If the Gamecocks want to stop Clemson’s defenses, they need to slow down the defensive line.
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