Week 3 of Clemson football is here. This is amazing to think about. Just last week we couldn’t wait for the season to start and after Saturday we will be about a quarter of the way through the season. This week, the Tigers go under the lights and host the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in Death Valley.
With some of the receivers struggling, Tiger fans are excited for the first time true freshman Adam Randall is back from an ACL injury. It’s hard to believe that the prospect of a receiving core is in the hands of a true freshman coming off a serious injury/surgery, but here we are.
I was impressed with the dominance of the Tigers defense last week. What a difference it makes in a week where the Tigers can’t stop a screen or a highly motivated and athletic Furman team. That shouldn’t be the case, no matter how good the Paladins are in the Southern Conference.
*** Apologies if I didn’t put #E11aStrong in this preview, just this week Ella Bresse, Brian’s younger sister of Tiger Nation, passed away. My condolences to the entire family.
Here’s your preview of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs traveling east from Ruston, Louisiana.
Opponent: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs – 9/17 8pm EST – Clemson, SC – Memorial Stadium
Head coach Sonny Kumba He enters his first year as a head coach after spending the last nine years as the offensive coordinator at TCU and Texas Tech. He is known as one of the most creative minds in college football and will bring the Air Raid style of offense to Ruston. He brings a passion for the offensive side of the ball and an exciting brand of football at Texas Tech.
Joint attack coordinator Scott Parr (TEs) is in his first year in Ruston after a stint at Navarro College in Texas. His coordinator Jake Brown (WRs) has experience as an analyst and quality control coach under Cumby at Texas Tech. As Coach Coombe has two OCs, he takes over most of the offense.
The Bulldogs lost their season opener to the Missouri Tigers 52-24 and followed that up with a 52-17 loss at Stephen F. Austin. The offense is averaging 38 points through two games on the season.
Here are the proposed starters on crime:
Quarterback – Matthew Downing – Junior – 21-38 197 yds. 1 TD; 3 INTs
running back – Marquis Crosby – Freshman – 23-221-2 TDs
wide receiver – Smoke Harris – Junior – 8-62-1TD
wide receiver – Trey Harris – Sophomore – 11-128-1TD
wide receiver – Kyle Maxwell – Second stage
tight end – Griffin Hebert. – High – 4-156-2TDs
Right touch – Carson Bruno – Freshman
right guard – Isaac Ellis – Junior
center – Abraham Dolphin – High
Left Guard – Joshua died – High
confusion – Dakota White – Second stage
Matthew Downing is the presumed starter for the upcoming game against the Tigers, but it was Parker McNeil who led the Bulldogs to victory a week ago. Expect to see both quarterbacks return for LaTech this weekend. Both have experience in Cumby’s offense and know they need to get the ball out quickly to combat this pesky Tigers defense.
This is an air raid attack. For those who don’t know what it means, you probably know it just by its name. They try to use the pass to open up the run game. And if the air attack fails at first, keep throwing. He relies on a ton of quick throws to playmakers in space. Too many screens, too, and if the past two weeks are any indication, Clemson could be in trouble on that front.
Dabo Swinney discussed a few pass rushers by name this week during his weekly press conference. Tight end Griffin Hebert and wide receiver Tys Harris were two of the standouts. With both players seemingly touching the ball more than most of their teammates, we expect more of the same on Saturday.
The offensive line won’t be asked to do much with the way the ball comes out so quickly, but this is a veteran-laden unit with redshirt freshman Carson Bruno outside right tackle. The unit is led by senior center Abraham Delphine.
On the defensive side of the ball: defensive coordinator Scott Power He has a great reputation as a defensive coordinator or strength and conditioning coach. Power is in his first year at Louisiana Tech after coming over from rival Stephen F. Austin last week when he was DC.
Here are the projected starters for the defense.
Defensive end – Deshon Hall – Junior – 4 taxes; 2 tfl
Defensive end – Joseph Mason – Secondary – 1 Tackle
Defense method – Rasheed Lyles – Junior – 4 capsules
Defense method – KV Rose – Second stage – 2 capsules
Linebacker – Kerry Morrison – Second stage – 6 capsules
Linebacker – Tyler Grubbs – Sophomore – 16 tackles; 1.5 TFL
Linebacker – Hugh Davis – Junior – 11 tackles; 1.5 bags
Cornerback – Willie Roberts – Junior – 3 capsules; 1 PBU
Cornerback – Miles Brooks – Junior – 4 capsules; 1 tfl
Security – BeeJay Williamson – Junior – 10 tackles; 1 tfl
Security – Jayden Cole – Junior – 9 tackles; 1 TFL; 1 INT
Louisiana Tech was projected to finish 9th in the Conference USA preseason, but the matchup looks like a nightmare for Clemson’s football defense.
It’s no secret that it was Sonny Cumbie’s offense that got this team going. Defense is a work in progress for the coaching staff. Giving up an average of 34.5 points per game does not bode well for a successful season. The bright spots are the linebacker and safety spots courtesy of Tyler Grubbs and Jayden Cole. Clemson has every opportunity to take advantage of a defensively challenged team.
Here are the projected starters on special teams:
Punter – Austin McCready – Freshman – 40.5 yd avg.
Kicker – Jacob Barnes – Sophomore – 2-3; Long 33
Punt return – Smoke Harris – Junior – 12 yard average
kick return – Solomon Lewis – Freshman – 31 yard average.
Louisiana Tech was projected to be No. 9 in Conference USA in the pre-Sean media poll, but it looks like a nightmare matchup for Clemson’s defense. Akin to Pittsburgh and the tight end shovel pass teams from 2015 are going to test Clemson’s high-flying defensive front with a lot of quick passes and screens. LaTech will be no different this weekend.
I believe Clemson will outscore the Bulldogs in the Valley tonight. However, I believe this may be closer than it should be, and I don’t believe Clemson covers an inflated spread.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs