Expectations are high for the Clemson defensive front entering the 2021 season.
The group of defensive linemen have been the recipients of a ton of hype, with many comparing them to what the Tigers had with the Power Rangers a few short years ago.
Count head coach Dabo Swinney among those expecting a lot of that group this season. After a recent practice Swinney flat out said, that after some bad luck last season kept the group from maximizing its potential, he’ll be disappointed if his front isn’t deep and dominant in 2021.
“I’ll be disappointed if it’s not,” Swinney said. “Because those guys have been young the past couple of years. Last year we could have been a more veteran group, but Xavier Thomas was in and out and Justin Foster was out. Myles Murphy was a freshman.”
With Thomas fully healthy and extremely motivated and Murphy having a year under his belt, the Clemson defense should feature a ferocious pass rush. Add in K.J. Henry and Justin Mascoll, and the Tigers have some quality depth. Then there’s the interior, where the coaches have Bryan Bresee and Tyler Davis, with Ruke Orhorhoro, Tre Williams and Payton Page as the backups.
It’s a group that Swinney appears to be very excited about and one he expects to set the tone for his team on the defensive side of the ball.
“This group right here, I’ll be very disappointed if they don’t play like I know they can,” Swinney said. “They’ve got the experience. They’re all in great shape. They’ve got the type of depth you want to have. They really understand the run scheme, pass scheme, block recognition/structure that takes time for young players to learn. I’ll be disappointed if they don’t set the tone for us every single week like I know they can.”
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