3 Defensive Keys for a Clemson win vs. Georgia Tech

·2 min read

With kickoff just hours away, Clemson’s defense will take the field for the first time this season and under a new coordinator in Wes Goodwin.

The Tigers return six players with starting experience on the defensive front in Bryan Bresee, Myles Murphy, Tyler Davis, K.J. Henry, Justin Mascoll, and an injured Xavier Thomas along with a talented backfield in linebacker Trenton Simpson, cornerback Sheridan Jones, and safeties Tyler Venables and Andrew Mukuba.

Expectations remain high for this talented group as many expect this year’s defense to be one of, if not the best defensive units in program history, drawing comparisons to the historic 2014 and 2018 defenses this preseason.

Here are three defensive keys for the Tigers against Georgia Tech.

Contain Jeff Sims

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Though Clemson’s defense did not face Georgia Tech quarterback Jeff Sims last season due to injury, there are eight veteran defenders that return for the Tigers that faced Sims back in 2020. Clemson was able to hold Sims in 2020’s 73-7 victory to just 58 yards of offense and roughly a 40% pass completion rate. Since then, Sims has gained 17 games of experience and will likely be a big challenge for the Tigers. That being said, Clemson’s key to success against Sims and the Georgia Tech offense is containing the quarterback early on.

Stay healthy

Syndication: The Greenville News

It is no secret that Clemson struggled last season on the injury front on all sides of the ball, but the depth on the defensive side especially suffered. Fast forward a year later and minus a few injuries, mostly on the offensive side during fall camp, the Tigers are entering tonight’s matchup almost 100% healthy. If Clemson can keep its health in check and keep the veteran defense experience on the field, only success will follow.

Sacks and Stops

Kevin Ruinard / staff

Though many consider last season to be an “off year” for Clemson, the Tigers defense still managed to have the nations second highest stop rate (80.1%) which only trailed a National Championship defense in the Georgia Bulldogs (83.4%). Over the past two seasons, Clemson’s defense has held Georgia Tech to just 15 points and recorded 8 sacks in back-to-back victories over the Yellow Jackets. Based on previous meetings, if the Tigers can put together meaningful defensive stops as well as record multiple sacks, another victory will likely be in their favor.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire