The Clemson football team has been missing Austin Bryant, but despite his absence, the defense has really stepped up.
The Clemson football world came to a halt on August 16th when the news of Austin Bryant’s injury surfaced. After losing ultra-productive defensive lineman, Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd to the NFL. Clemson’s defensive line became their main concern over the off-season.
A Sophomore, Bryant was expected to be a strength on Clemson’s inexperienced defensive front. When Bryant broke his foot, their were serious doubts on whether or not Clemson’s defensive line would be able to reload once again.
Through the first five games of this season, the answer has been a resounding yes. The Tigers front seven has been suffocating so far this season, ranking 7th nationally in sacks with 18 and 2nd in TFL’s with 48. Also, Clemson is stingy on 3rd down, only allowing their opponent to convert 24.68% of the time.
What the Tigers lack in experience, they make up for in talent and above all else, size. Clemson’s starting defensive line of Christian Wilkins, Carlos Watkins, Dexter Lawrence, and Clelin Ferrell, averages out at 6’4, 304 lbs.
Been there, done that
Bryant’s injury appeared disastrous at first. Now it seems like a blessing in disguise for Clemson. Younger guys such as, Clelin Ferrell (RFr), Albert Huggins (So), Richard Yeargin (RSo), and Chris Register (RSo) have been able to get valuable in-game reps.
This situation is eerily similar to the one Clemson was in last year when Mike Williams went down. The Tigers were not sure how their receiving core would fair without Williams. All they managed to do was rack up 4,373 yards and 35 touchdowns. Not to shabby.
Return of Austin Bryant
Austin Bryant traveled with the team to Boston College for tonight’s game. It is not clear whether he will play or not. With N.C. State next week, Brent Venables can afford to bring Bryant along slowly. There is no rush to play him, however, when he is back in the fold Clemson’s defensive line is going to wreak havoc.