Yard dogs

Larry Williams, Senior Writer
Tiger Illustrated

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The three 2017 games that probably strike the most fear in the minds of Clemson fans are Auburn, Louisville and Florida State (not necessarily in that order).

And the biggest reasons for that elevated sense of concern are Jarrett Stidham, Lamar Jackson and Deondre Francois.

A we explored in this space yesterday, Clemson is used to having a monstrous advantage in playmaking ability at the quarterback position. With Deshaun Watson gone, that advantage is negated. So it makes perfect sense that the most difficult tests this season will feature the best three quarterbacks the Tigers will face.

But just when you start to feel a little apprehensive about the possibility of opposing quarterbacks and receivers playing pitch and catch in Clemson's defensive backfield, you remember the Tigers' habit for jumping the fence and playing in the neighbor's back yard.

That's the unforgettable description that now-retired defensive line coach Dan Brooks used to motivate his guys to create fundamental and frequent offensive disruption. And if reading those words alone doesn't create sufficient imagery, then just turn on some of the replays from last season and you'll see brutal assaults that require no imagination.

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