Best is the standard. Those are words we hear from Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney on a regular basis.
It is just a part of the culture that has turned Clemson into one of the best program’s in the country. It is a culture that enables the players to be the best versions of themselves on and off of the field.
As the team once again heads into a weekend matchup as huge favorites, holding themselves to that same standard will be of the utmost importance. While the Tigers may be heavy favorites, this will be the first time this team has been tested.
Under Bronco Mendenhall, the Cavs have tried playing an aggressive style of defense based out of the 3-4. That was really on display last season, up until the ACC Championship Game anyways. The Tigers scored on their first five possessions, racing out to a 31-7 lead and never looked back in a 62-17 win.
This season though, the UVA defense is better. They only lost three starters and two of those missed most of the season injured. They have 15 guys back on the defensive side that started at least one game last season.
Last week in their season opener against Duke, they forced seven turnovers, picking off former Clemson quarterback Chase Brice four times. This team is good on the back end. How good against a guy like Trevor Lawrence remains to be seen.
They also have two very good linebackers in Noah Taylor and Charles Snowden, both they are trying to use in similar ways to how Brent Venables used Isaiah Simmons last season. While they certainly aren’t as freakishly talented as Simmons, there are two of them and they can play.
“Anybody can beat you, and I think that’s very much forgotten a lot in today’s world. Especially with so much media attention to big name schools and stuff. But at the end of the day, the other team has scholarship players too, guys who are hungry to be great, prove a point, and make it to the next level.”Braden Galloway
This is not a team the Tigers can take lightly. Especially this season. We have already seen a number of ranked teams go down. However, this Clemson team has taken notice. They are fully aware of what can happen if they don’t bring their best each and every week, and that is bad news for the Wahoo’s.