The Clemson defense will have the tough task of trying to slow down Heisman winner Lamar Jackson Saturday night at Louisville.
Tigers defensive end Austin Bryant believes facing Kelly Bryant every day in practice has helped prepare Clemson for what it will see this weekend.
“(Lamar is) a special talent. He’s got a different gear. He’s strong, he’s fast. So it’s going to present us a great challenge, but I believe that we face that same thing in Kelly Bryant every day in practice,” Austin Bryant said. “It should be just like putting practice on a game day atmosphere.”
Fellow defensive end Clelin Ferrell added that there are definitely some similarities between Jackson and Kelly Bryant.
Never miss a local story.
“Both of them are great athletes. Kelly, that’s the best look at what you’re going to get. Kelly don’t run as much as Lamar does, but you see that same type of athletic ability with Kelly. That makes it a lot easier for us to see guys like that on our (practice) field,” Bryant said. “We don’t get overwhelmed by anything that we see in our competition. Even though we respect everybody we play we don’t get overwhelmed because we feel like we have the best here and we go against it every day.”
Clemson cornerback Ryan Carter echoed the comments of his fellow defenders.
“It’s definitely big because having to go against Kelly Bryant, who can tuck the ball and run and scramble, that definitely makes us ready for a guy like Lamar Jackson,” he said. “I always say we’re not going to be overwhelmed by what we see because we have such great talent on the field here.”
Jackson has 771 passing yards, 239 rushing yards, five passing touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns so far in 2017. He has yet to throw an interception.
Bryant has 417 passing yards, 136 rushing yards, one passing touchdown and three rushing touchdowns this year. He has thrown one interception.
UP FOR GRABS
The right tackle position is “absolutely” up for grabs after Tremayne Anchrum and Sean Pollard struggled this past Saturday against Auburn, according to Tigers co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott.
Scott said both players have played well at times this season, but they only get noticed when something goes wrong.
“That’s kind of where we were coming out of fall camp is it was close enough we were going to let those guys compete on the field. Both of them had done some really good things in fall camp. Both of them did some really good things against Kent State,” Scott said. “There were some mistakes made Saturday night, and they also did some good things. But offensive line is kind of like the snapper, you only notice them when they make a mistake or do something wrong. Those guys up front, if they make a mistake everybody gets to see it.”
Scott added that he expects the two to bounce back this week.
“I think both of those guys are talented. I think they have a lot of pride,” he said. “I know Coach (Robbie) Caldwell’s going to work hard with them to get those things corrected as we go forward.”
THANKS FOR THE HELP
Ferrell offered thanks to Clemson’s secondary for allowing the Tigers’ front seven to record 11 sacks in the win over Auburn.
Bryant led the way with four sacks, while Ferrell contributed one.
“I would say half those sacks were ones we got on our own and the other half were coverage sacks,” he said. “Those guys held it down back there. I was really impressed.”