Tigers expect plenty of Orange pressure

CLEMSON - Brandon Thomas, Ryan Norton and the rest of the Clemson offensive linemen better buckle up their chinstraps in the Carrier Dome.

The Syracuse defense will be gunning for their quarterback when Clemson heads north on Saturday for a 3:30 matchup with the Orange.

"This team loves to pressure. They love to bring one more than you've got. If they could blitz 12, they'd blitz 12," Chad Morris said.

First-year head coach Scott Shafer served as the Orange defensive coordinator under Doug Marrone from 2009-12. With Chuck Bullough now calling the shots on defense, things are a little bit different than they were in the past, but not too different.

"Their main objective is to try to disrupt the quarterback by bringing pressure from every angle possible," Morris said. "This is, probably, the biggest pressure team we've faced, maybe since I've been here. We've got to have a great plan for that. It's showing up in every one of their games, and even into last year.

"They were a little bit more odd [fronts] last year than they are this year. But they still like to move guys around and bring a lot of pressure."

Syracuse is one of 10 teams in the country with 10 sacks this season and they're tied for 29th in the nation with 2.5 sacks per game.

Nine Orange defenders have recorded sacks this season. Leading the way is defensive tackle Jay Bromley, who has three.

The Clemson offensive line got their first look and Bromley & Co. on Monday morning.

"We saw a lot of house blitzes. They're going to try to bring more than we have," Norton said. "Good thing we have hot passes, get the ball out if we need to. It's going to be our job to protect Tajh this week."

Pass protection hasn't exactly been a strong suit for the Clemson offensive line this season. The Tigers are tied for 79th in the country with nine sacks allowed.

Thomas said they're up for the challenge.

"You want to bring pressure? It means we're, obviously, doing something good for you to bring pressure," he said. "That's a challenge for us this week. As an offensive lineman, you look forward to the challenge."

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