Well, the offense is going to need to adjust and get the ball out fast.
This weekend against Wake Forest, we saw the offense begin to click. AJ Long looked comfortable and Steve Ishmael broke out with a great performance. But this week, the Orange may need Tim Lester and the offense to work a little differently, mainly because of the great defensive line the Tigers have.
Syracuse will need to run more quick plays, namely slants, screens, and short routes. The Orange will need to move the ball methodically and then occasionally take a shot deep. The problem SU faces is that the offensive line is so banged up. Ivan Foy is out, and starting center John Miller left the game this weekend with an injury. If the performance against Wake is any indication, the SU offensive line could struggle against a much better defensive line this week.
Long will likely be under constant pressure from Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, the defensive line, and blitzes that Venables dials up. Long showed his mobility and ability to make throws on the move. But this week it will be a new challenge. In just his second career start, Long will be facing one of the best defenses in the country as Clemson ranks 19th in points against.
One of the biggest challenges however could be on Lester. Many people got on George McDonald for calling screens and short dink- and dunk-type passes. But those are the types of plays that beat blitzes and work when a team is a good pass rushing team. Lester needs to call these shorter passes to even give Long an opportunity to get the ball out of his hand and move the Orange down the field.
Posted: Seth Goldberg