Each week we will scout Clemson football’s opponent and let you know who to look for and how the Tigers stack up against the competition.
Each week we will take some time to scout Clemson’s opponents. We’ll show you what players to watch for and give you a little bit of a back story on the Tigers upcoming opponents. This week the Troy Trojans come to Death Valley to take on the #2 ranked Tigers. Kickoff is set for 12:30pm and can be seen on the ACC Network.
Today we’ll take a look at the Troy defense and see how they stack up against the Tigers offense.
Last Saturday the Trojans took on Austin-Peay State University and they won 57-17. It was lop sided and it’s tough to tell, in game one, against a lesser opponent, exactly what the Trojans will field this season.
I do know that former Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning is back at Troy for his second stint with the team. Koenning had some success at Troy in previous years. This years Troy team will look a little different compared to most Koenning led defenses though.
Koenning will run a 3-4 defense primarly this season. I’m not sure if it’s a philosophy change for Koenning, or if he’s just playing the best scheme that fits his personnel.
Koenning, while at Clemson and at various other universities has instituted the 4-3. That’s what makes me think it’s a personnel issue. Maybe the Trojans don’t have enough big bodies to fill that four down linemen, with depth. So he’s going to just use three defensive linemen this year while running the 3-4 defense.
Kris Whiterspoon is a 6’1″ junior free safety that is a key player to watch for on the Troy defense. He was the leading tackler in last weeks game.
He tallied 7 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. He’s 185lbs, so he’s a little bit light to expect too much run support from him. If the Trojans are allowing Wayne Gallman to get to the last level of defense, the safety’s, it’s too late. If Whiterspoon is the leading tackler this particular Saturday versus the Tigers, it’s going to be a long day for the men from Troy.
The Tiger coaching staffs’ eyes will probably light up when they see that Troy allowed 64% of their
3rd downs to be converted. Getting off of the field will be huge for Troy, especially in this game. If that number remains the same, or if Clemson football converts more than 64% of their 3rd downs, the game will get ugly in a hurry.
Austin Peay also converted every time they entered the red-zone against Troy. That’s another huge stat for Troy. Can they limit Clemson’s possessions in the red-zone. My guess is probably not.
William Loyd and Terris Lewis are two legit linebackers that will be suiting up for the Trojans on Saturday. Both are seniors and both are expected to lead their defense. Loyd is small, but a hard hitter. He’s 6’0″ 214, and collected 73 tackles last season. Terris is a little bigger, as expected from the middle linebacker spot. He’s 6’2″ 229 and will be counted on to help corral the Clemson running game.
That’s where the good news ends for the Troy defense. The game is won and lost on the lines of scrimmage.
You know it, I know it, the coaches and players know it. Across the defensive line, heck across the Troy roster you just don’t have the personnel to contend with the monsters that Clemson will run down the hill on Saturday.
Troy’s defensive line averages 265 pounds. Clemson’s offensive line on average is 60-70lbs bigger than Troy’s. Not only are they bigger, but they are faster. This will be the biggest mis-match of the game. Even with exotic blitzes and sometimes dropping 8 into coverage, Watson will take what’s given to him and both pick apart and bully the Clemson offense into the endzone often.
When Clemson Has the Ball: Advantage Clemson