Clemson D has its eyes on Bryce Perkins
Clemson is set to begin postseason in defense of its national championship, and up first in postseason play for the Tigers is a matchup against Virginia in the 2019 ACC Championship Game Saturday night in Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
If Cavaliers fans are clinging to the hope that maybe just maybe Clemson may somehow overlook or take lightly Virginia’s dynamic quarterback Bryce Perkins, then you might be in for a long night in the Queen City of the South.
Clemson, winners of 27 straight, are fully aware of the exploitations of Perkins and the havoc he can bring to opposing defenses. (See Virginia Tech game highlights.) So much that Clemson coach Dabo Swinney refers to Perkins as a “wow guy.”
“You better have eyes on him,” said Swinney. “The crazier things get, the better he gets.”
Bet on Clemson to set out to make things wild and crazy all night for Perkins.
The Tigers are downright nasty in defense of the run, allowing just over 100 rushing yards per game (11th in D-1, bowl subdivision), and have a total of 36 quarterback sacks on the year.
“Our front guys have to know who they’re playing against. There’s a style of play you have to play with, technique-wise, when playing a quarterback like Perkins,” noted Swinney.
It should be secret of Perkins’ running prowess. Through 12 games, the Virginia signal-caller has rushed for 687 yards and 11 scores. While Perkins can shred an opposing defense, he is also prone to being gotten to, having been sacked 35 times during the regular season.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venabales, now in his eighth season in Death Valley, has a repletion as a master of deception when it comes to giving opposing offenses a myriad of defensive schemes to counter.
Venables’ job is to dissect an opponent’s offense and find their weakness and attack that. What helps Venables the most in preparing week-in, week-out? Clemson’s offense.
Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said going up against Venables and the Tiger defensive unit in practice is as tough as it gets.
“Brent simply understands his personnel and puts them in a position to be successful. He (Venables) can easily dissect an offense and find their weakness, and he simply attacks you,” praised Elliott.
So, does the dual-threat Perkins poise a threat to the hungry Tiger defense? For sure. But does Venables have a plan for his defensive unit? Again, for sure.
“We tell our guys there ain’t nothing you haven’t seen, so anything we may see we rely on what we did to have success in the past, we have a plan,” noted Venables.
Virginia fans hope the Cavaliers and Perkins can blow up those plans on Saturday night and possibly force Clemson into plan-B mode.
Story by Scott German