Clemson football will face Florida State Saturday at noon.
While Clemson football is expected to dominate the Seminoles Saturday, it does not mean that they can simply show up and walk out of Doak Campbell Stadium with a win. The Tigers are going to have to be locked in and focused on the opponent.
Given that they are coming off a bye week that followed a heartbreaking loss to number two Notre Dame, hopefully, that focus will not be an issue.
Here are three areas that Clemson football will need to focus on Saturday against FSU
Effort and execution on the offensive line
Clemson football will only go as far as their offensive line will take it in 2020. We have heard the propaganda from Coach Swinney and Coach Elliott all year that the offensive line was actually playing better than it seemed. Defenses are doing this, that, and the other to keep Travis Etienne from getting loose, etc.
There is no excuse for Travis Etienne, the best running back in the country, to be averaging under 80 rushing yards a game.
There is no excuse for this offense to struggle as it has in short-yardage situations. There is no reason why an offensive that is playing well cannot take control when a defense knows what is going to happen and run out the clock to secure a win.
The Tigers’ offensive line must come out and assert themselves against an undermanned opponent. Travis Etienne needs to have run lanes where he is not having to make superhuman moves at the line of scrimmage.
We need to see an offensive line that is consistently moving the line of scrimmage. Clemson needs to be able to convert short-yardage situations and this offense needs to rush for at least 225 yards tomorrow.
This Clemson football offensive line has to come out with a noticeable edge and needs to play pissed off tomorrow and start to build some much-needed confidence as they head down the stretch.
This is not a situation where the Tigers put up a big number on the ground tomorrow and everyone has to shut up. It will be a small step in building the attitude, confidence, and execution this offensive line unit needs to make a run down the stretch.
Defense winning one on one matchups
This goes beyond the secondary, this is for the entire defense. Florida State will certainly take their shots tomorrow, especially off of play-action.
Have these defensive backs become more comfortable with the ball in the air?
Do they have their eyes in the right place against receivers?
Can they maintain the correct leverage?
Do they feel more comfortable making plays on the ball?
The Notre Dame offensive line lived up to the hype two weeks ago, their run blocking and pass protection was outstanding.
At some point, someone on that defensive line needed to go out and win a match up on a critical play and it did not happen. It is not about just the edge rushers, it is about the tackles getting off blocks or getting to their landmark so a linebacker can make a play.
Hopefully, we will see Tyler Davis back on the field tomorrow and we will begin to see a difference but he cannot do it alone. The defensive line as a unit needs to step up and start taking over and they have a great opportunity to do that against an inexperienced Florida State offensive line.
Efficient and calm Trevor Lawrence
What will Trevor Lawrence look like after missing the last two games after testing positive for Covid-19? He and Coach Swinney have said all the right things but can he come out and allow the game to come to him or does he come out too hyped up and airmail his first couple of passes?
As good as Lawrence is he has not played a football game in three weeks. You want to see if there are any visible impacts of the layoff. You want to see if he can pick back up from where he left off back on October 24, 2020.
Florida State is the perfect team to find your mojo after a long layoff.
Trevor Lawrence needs to come out and play with a controlled focus and see if he can play his way back into Heisman contention with some strong performances down the stretch.