Behind enemy bylines: Clemson
Colin Halm, assistant sports editor at The Tiger, answered a few questions from The Auburn Plainsman ahead of Auburn’s matchup with Clemson this Saturday.
1. Can you give a brief scouting report on new Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant?
Clemson's Kelly Bryant is a dual-threat quarterback who is a better runner than passer. He has a good nose for finding holes on the ground. Bryant completed a 61-yard deep ball touchdown to Deon Cain Saturday against Kent State that still went about 45 yards through the air, so you know he has good touch on his passes. Makes less bad decisions than his predecessor Deshaun Watson, but he still tries to force passes into impossible windows.
2. Clemson lost a good bit of talent from last year's national championship team, who are some guys that will be counted on to make plays this season?
Tre Lamar will be trying to do his best Ben Boulware impression on Saturdays this season, but the 4-star linebacker has won the starting weak side linebacker spot as a true sophomore, so he doesn't have much to prove to the coaches. Lamar is an instinctual player and a good tackler but is weak in coverage. On offense, it will have to be the stable of running backs. CJ Fuller, Tavien Feaster, Adam Choice and Travis Etienne are all capable of making an impact, but they need to take advantage of their limited opportunities.
3. Clemson's defensive line has been described as one of the best in the country, who are some guys to watch out for up front?
The simple answer is all of them. There is no single guy any offensive line can focus on for too long because the other three will break through. Austin Bryant is probably the weakest one on the line because of a foot injury he sustained last year, but if he's the worst, there isn't really a problem. Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence are the big boys up front that will collapse the running game up front and defensive end Clelin Ferrell is a pass rushing specialist just as good as Vic Beasley.
4. What do you think will be the key position battle on the field on Saturday?
It will be a battle in the trenches against Auburn with Clemson's defensive line set to spar with Auburn's offensive line. Jarrett Stidham needs time in the pocket to beat Clemson, but if Auburn's line doesn't hold they may lose this game early on.
5. What can Auburn fans expect when they visit Death Valley this weekend?
Clemson has been praised before about the manners of its fans. Tailgaters will welcome opposing fans no matter the school. Inside Death Valley will be much more raucous. Noise inside has been known to reach near-deafening volumes. Make sure to bring protection if you have sensitive ears.
6. Score prediction?
Home field advantage gives Clemson the edge, 30-23.