Addazio plays the Lou Holtz card

Boston College head coach Steve Addazio isn't hiding his feeling about Clemson's defense entering Saturday's showdown in Chestnut Hill.

Former South Carolina and Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz used to be the master of the art of "sandbagging."

You know sandbagging, the idea of making your upcoming opponent sound like the 1969 Green Bay Packers while taking on the "woe is me" attitude regarding your own squad?

Holtz would cleverly downplay his team while talking up his opponents, thinking it would grab the attention of his players in such a way it would force them to be as sharp and as focused as humanly possible.

Sometimes it worked to perfection, while on other occasions it seemed to backfire.

Interestingly enough, second-year Boston College head coach Steve Addazio has seemingly taken a page out of the Holtz playbook this week when discussing Clemson's defense.

In the weekly teleconference with the ACC media, Addazio heaped on the praise for the Tigers' defense in ways unlike we've ever heard.

"I’ve come in here and talked about opposing defenses before," Addazio said. "I did that with USC and said we had a challenge. I will tell you that after watching Clemson right now: last year I told you they had a great defense, everyone knows they’re a really good defense, but I’m saying that in my career predominantly in the SEC I haven’t seen a defense like this since we played Alabama in the [2009] SEC Championship Game.

"This is the most dominant defense I have seen. Period. I’m just amazed watching them. They’re all back. (The staff has) done an unbelievable job of coaching these guys. They’re really super talented and really well-coached. That’s what I’m seeing and I’m believing when I watch this film. People make plays on them they’re broken plays. They’re not really well executed plays, because it’s really difficult. That’s how completely dominant they are."

And he didn't stop there. Addazio examined nearly every level of Clemson's talent-rich defense, gushing about each play-maker along the way - even reserves.

"Where do you start with them?" the B.C. head coach pondered. "Do you want to start with Vic Beasley? Watch him. He must run a 4.50. I don’t think I’ve seen a guy that fast. he guy is unbelievable. He’s a great pass rusher. He’ll be a first-round draft pick. He’s already got eight sacks.

"Number 90 Shaq Lawson? Number 50, their interior lineman? He’s completely dominant. No one blocks him. Not a soul. Not Florida State. Not Georgia. Nobody. In No. 42, Stephone Anthony, I think he’s the best in the country. He makes more plays, more broken tackles. They’re a great tackling defense. They’re an amazing tackling defense. I have a world of respect for what they’re doing down there on the defensive side of that ball."

There's some truth in what Addazio is saying mind you.

Clemson enters Saturday's game at Boston College ranked sixth in the country in total defense, yielding just 286 yards per game. The Tigers are also 11th in run defense and 17th in passing yards allowed at the halfway point of the 2014 season.

The Tigers' game film from their overtime loss at No. 1 FSU must look impressive as well considering the 'Noles had -13 rushing yards in regulation.

At the same time, Addazio may not need to play the "sandbagging" card considering how well the Eagles have played against ranked foes recently.

Remember, B.C. trailed just 7-3 at halftime against third-ranked Tigers a year ago before a late scoop-and-score by Beasley lifted Clemson to a hard-fought 24-14 victory. B.C. also led eventual National Champion Florida State 17-3 last season before eventually succumbing late in the second half.

And there was the 37-31 beat down against No. 9 USC earlier this season in a game that saw the Eagles rush for a mind-boggling 432 yards.

What happens Saturday at Alumni Stadium, of course, is anybody's guess. Las Vegas has only listed Clemson as about a touchdown favorite so perhaps all the sandbagging by Addazio isn't warranted.

But more times than not, it wasn't warranted by Holtz but it never stopped him from doing it.

It looks like it won't stop the energized second-year head man in Chestnut Hill either.

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