Scouting Clemson

CuseNation.com breaks down the Clemson Tigers in our weekly scouting report of Syracuse's next opponent. Everything you need to know about the Tigers inside.

Scouting the Offense

Clemson has a multiple system that utilizes elements of the spread and pro-style schemes. They line up in the shotgun frequently, and utilize the athleticism of their skill position players. The Tigers utilize multiple formations with different personnel groupings to create mismatches all over the field. Ideally, Clemson would prefer a mobile quarterback to give their offense an added dimension. But with the injury to Deshaun Watson, they have to rely on the much less mobile Cole Stoudt.

Clemson often lines up in three wide receiver sets and tries to create mismatches with their personnel by spreading the field and utilizing motion. Their strength is along the offensive line, where they have been great at protecting the quarterback all season. The ground attack has struggled a bit, as Clemson is only averaging 3.2 yards per carry as a team. Leading rusher Adam Choice is out for this game as well for Clemson.

Projected Starters

Quarterback

Cole Stoudt

Running Back

Wayne Gallman

Wide Receiver

Mike Williams

Wide Receiver

Adam Humphries

Wide Receiver

Artavis Scott

Tight End

Sam Cooper

Left Tackle

Isaiah Battle

Left Guard

David Beasley

Center

Ryan Norton

Right Guard

Reid Webster

Right Tackle

Kalon Davis

Key Players

QB Cole Stoudt: With the loss of DeShaun Watson due to injury, the less mobile Stoudt gets the call for Clemson. He is not one of their most talented offensive players, but is one of their most important. The offense has struggled to move the ball with him at the helm. He is a pocket passer with a solid arm and decent accuracy.

RB Wayne Gallman: The loss of leading rusher Adam Choice with a torn ACL makes Gallman the leader of a running back by committee. His success is important to the Tigers’ ability to be balanced offensively.

WR Mike Williams: Williams is leading the Tigers in receiving yards with 671-yards on just 30 catches. Replacing Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant is not easy, but Williams has helped to replicate some of their production. Williams will test the Orange secondary that has been prone to giving up the big play. He has size and speed, making him an extremely dangerous offensive weapon.

Weaknesses

The biggest weakness for the Tigers is their rushing attack. Injuries have plagued the running back position and the offensive line has struggled, at times, to open big lanes. With Cole Stoudt at the helm, the passing game has been largely inconsistent despite the weapons at his disposal.

Overall

The athletes Clemson has will certainly test Syracuse, but there is an opportunity to make them one-dimensional. The key for Syracuse will be to shut down the rushing attack and put pressure on Stoudt. If they can do those things, they should be able to limit the Tigers offense.

Scouting the Defense

Clemson runs a traditional 4-3 defense. They blitz at times, but rely on their front four to generate pressure. They play a lot of man in the defensive backfield and use their speedy linebackers to attack the run. The Tigers can mix things up at times, but primarily utilize the straight 4-3 scheme.

The secondary has the ability to play zone, and when they do, they give different looks to confuse opposing quarterbacks. But man is what they do well. They are a physical secondary that covers well.

The front four are their biggest strength, getting pressure on the quarterback and stuffing the opposing run game. They may be the best defensive line in the country.

Starters

Defensive End

Corey Crawford

Defensive Tackle

Grady Jarrett

Defensive Tackle

Josh Watson

Defensive End

Vic Beasley

Strongside Linebacker

B.J. Goodson

Middle Linebacker

Stephone Anthony

Weakeside Linebacker

Tony Steward

Corner

Mackensie Alexander

Strong Safety

Jayron Kearse

Free Safety

Robert Smith

Corner

Garry Peters

Key Players

DE Vic Beasley: Beasley may be the best defensive end in the nation. He currently has 8.5 sacks on the season and gets off the ball with an elite burst. He has superb speed off the edge and underrated strength. Beasley will test left tackle Sean Hickey more than any other defensive linemen he will face this season. It should be a fun battle in the trenches.

MLB Stephone Anthony: Anthony is a traditional 4-3 MIKE linebacker with size, quickness and strength. He moves well, fills gaps and makes plays behind the line of scrimmage. He is a tackling machine and leads the Tigers in that category. Anthony will be an integral part of Clemson’s ability to stop the Syracuse ground game.

S Jayron Kearse: Kearse is a very good all around safety. He tackles well, is solid in coverage (leads the team in passes broken up) and can blitz from time to time. Look for Kearse to be all over the field on Saturday.

Overall

The Clemson defense is the strength of the team. Their front four gets after the quarterback and has racked up 26 sacks on the season to go along with 66 tackles for loss. Both are top five in the nation. The secondary is physical, aids in the run game, tackles well and is excellent in man coverage. The linebackers play fast, fill gaps and get into the backfield routinely. On paper, the defense has few weaknesses.

Breaking Down the Special Teams

Projected Starters

Kicker

Ammon Lakip

Punter

Bradley Pinion

Punt Returner

Adam Humphries

Kick returners

T.J. Green

C.J. Davidson

Breakdown

K Ammon Lakip: Lakip is a solid kicker and has made 75% of his attempts this season. He has a solid leg with a 45-yard long this season. While not an elite kicker, he is certainly not a weakness and can be relied upon in critical situations.

P Bradley Pinion: Pinion has a strong leg and is averaging 43-yards per punt with a long of 60. He has pinned Clemson opponents inside the 20 19-times this season.

Kick Returners: The Clemson kick returners have been average at best this season. T.J. Green is the leading returner and averages less than 20-yards per return. His long is 30 and they have yet to return one for a score.

PR Adam Humphries: Humphries is a dangerous returner, averaging nearly eight yards per attempt. He also has a touchdown on the season, returning a punt 72-yards to the house. Humphries is a Wes Welker type and relies on quickness rather than elite strength. But he is slippery in the open field and will test Syracuse’s punt coverage unit.


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