It’s here… game day for the 2022 Orange Bowl, time for the Tigers and Volunteers to get together and strap it on and decide which version of “Orange” is King for the day!
The Volunteers come into this game with a vaunted offensive attack, that was deadly in it’s ability to hit the “big play” over and over all season long. However, the duo responsible for most of those plays is not participating in this game as Hendon Hooker (injured) and Jailen Hiatt (Opted out for NFL) will not be on the playing surface in uniform Friday night.
Clemson also lost a couple pieces to it’s defensive roster in Trenton Simpson (LB) and Myles Murphy (DE), both opting out for the NFL Draft. Thus, both teams look to replace NFL level talent on each side of the ball in short windows (Bowl practices). Look for Clemson to use the three safety look you saw in the ACC title game…. one to disguise coverages and protect against the big play and two also helps when you can hide your blitzes inside that look.
On Defense, Wes Goodwin will look to put pressure on Joe Milton with blitz packages designed to make the signal caller make a quick decision and limit the downfield passing game. With a three week window to prepare…The self proclaimed “film geek”, who was the tip of the spear in Brent Venables defenses, and known for recognizing formation/personnel and alignments and diagnosing an offensive game plan. This will b a test to keep the Vol’s from finding wide open mismatches on the back end. But job one will be to stop the Tennessee ground game with two back over 600 yards for the season in the backfield they can and do manage to get theirs each game. If the Tigers can force the ground game to a halt and place this game on the inconsistent arm talent of Joe Milton minus his two best WR targets. Then Clemson should win this one defensively that is.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Tigers look to newly named starter Cade Klubnik after his stellar performance in the ACC title game. The Freshman QB will have to be prepared for an athletic and busy Vols front seven as they will have to go all out to get pressure and ease the direct assault that Clemson has planned for the UT Defensive backfield. At 107th Nationally in Pass defense efficiency. You know the staff has been scheming up ways to take advantage. And best way to do that is get Will Shipley and Phil Mafah rolling early in the ground game and force the Vols to have to dedicate a safety to the “box” thus opening up pass lanes down the middle of the field. Expect to see Tight Ends Allen and Briningstool running down the seams wide open if that is indeed the case. The Vols defense on the other hand has to confuse the young signal caller and pressure him often and hope for mistakes. With little film out there on Klubnik other than the ACC title game to go on. There is no telling what other offensive features may be brought forth in the playbook to coincide with Klubnik’s skillset.
I’ve thought about this one, looked at the stats, the games played, the coaching staffs and changes there and in rosters . And the game according to Vegas as of game day finds the Tigers a -6 point favorite and I think the gamblers in Sin City have it about right. I see an offensive performance that will equal the ACC title game and defensively it will be a bend but don’t break mentality by Clemson, keeping everything in front of them (3 Safety looks) .Dabo Swinney’s Tigers come out of South Florida with a tan and another Orange Bowl trophy to add to the mantle in Tigertown..
Clemson 34 Tennessee 24