Offsides with The Tiger’s sports editor

Clemson’s quarterback Kelly Bryant has been in a quarterback battle with freshman Trevor Lawrence. 

McClain Baxley

Ahead of Georgia Southern’s game against Clemson Saturday, Colin Halm, the sports editor for Clemson’s student newspaper The Tiger, gave his thoughts on the game. The Eagles and Tigers are set to kickoff Saturday at noon on ESPNU. 

Is this the game that Trevor Lawrence earns the starting role or is it still Kelly Bryant’s offense?  

No. Based on the way Bryant performed against Texas A&M, that offense is his unless he gets injured *knock on wood*. Lawrence definitely did not look very poised against the Aggies and his one touchdown throw was off. Tee Higgins just has a massive catch radius which made Lawrence look better than he actually was. Lawrence will play against Georgia Southern, but he will not assume QB1 duties this year.

How much of a big-game hangover will the Tigers have coming off a big win in College Station?

It probably depends on how you would define a big-game hangover. If that means losing, then no. If that means not showing up as much in the first half, then probably, but that isn’t really any different than usual. Clemson only scored 17 points against Furman in the first half last week. That’s usually how it goes.

In the same way, will Clemson be looking ahead to their ACC-opener in Georgia Tech the next week?  

Head coach Dabo Swinney preaches only looking one game ahead. Granted Georgia Southern will likely not be as imposing of an opponent as Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets didn’t exactly inspire confidence with a defeat to USF. Clemson’s offensive coordinators definitely need to iron some things out after Saturday’s game and I expect them to game plan for Georgia Southern the same way they would for an ACC opponent.

How is Clemson’s defense planning to attack the spread option after GS put up nearly 500 yards last week?

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables has been shutting down option defenses for years. The spread option is a little different from the traditional option offense that they have seen from Furman and Georgia Tech, but the concepts remain similar. The last spread option attack the Tigers played was Pittsburgh and I think it’s safe to say the defense plugged the necessary holes.  

What is the mindset for players and fans when hosting a Group of 5 school?

The players treat it like any other game. If they let up just because the school they are playing isn’t a Power 5 team, they could end up losing. I can’t even imagine the fallout from that type of loss, but the coaches make sure the players don’t change their mindset.

For fans, it’s very different. It’s billed as Parent’s weekend for the students which is generally set up for a win. The fans expect a blowout after such a close game with A&M to ease their minds.

What are your predictions for the game Saturday?

I predict the Tigers come out on top 45-14.

 

McClain Baxley, The George-Anne Sports Editor, [email protected]