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Experience, continuity gives Clemson an edge over Georgia

Adam Luckett08/23/21
Article written by:On3 imageAdam Luckett

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Dabo Swinney Brent Venables
(Photo courtesy of Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

CLEMSON — The Clemson Tigers are a preseason national championship contender, but so are the Georgia Bulldogs. Not much separates these two programs.

Both Kirby Smart and Dabo Swinney have football programs that win big on national signing day, resulting in both winning big on Saturdays. There is a huge financial commitment to both schools with top-notch coaching staffs on each sideline. The season-opener in Charlotte, North Carolina is going to be a tough match to call.

When digging into the upcoming contest, ClemsonSports.com has found two specific areas that could give the Tigers an edge on Sept. 4.

One-two defensive punch

Brent Venables is one of the best defensive coordinators in college football. The 50-year-old has led the Tigers to five top-5 yards per play allowed finishes in nine seasons. Clemson will enter 2021 with a shot at having their best defense yet.

The Tigers have a plethora of former five-star recruits on the defensive line, return the top-10 tacklers from last season, plus have super seniors starting at linebacker and safety. All signs point to this unit being dominant thanks to the great combination of talent and experience.

To begin every season, defenses usually are further ahead than offenses. In Athens, the Bulldogs are breaking in new starters at center and guard, while the wide receiver position has had some preseason attrition.

Clemson could have the advantage on this side of the ball thanks to all the returning pieces for Swinney’s program. The Tigers are stacked on defense.

Clemson’s consistent offensive structure

One of the biggest storylines from the offseason for Clemson occurred in the SEC. Tennessee once again had a coaching search and offensive coordinator Tony Elliott emerged as a premium candidate for the SEC East program. However, the 41-year-old decided to stay put and is back for his seventh season at his alma mater calling the offensive plays.

That’s huge for the Tigers as it will give the program staff continuity in a year where there are a ton of moving parts with personnel.

The Tigers are breaking in new starters at quarterback and running back to go along with a pair of new starters on the offensive line. Starting left guard Matt Bockhorst may even be moved to center.

Despite all of that, the scheme will remain the same and this should make the transition much easier. That will pay off in Week 1 going up against a very talented Georgia defense.