The battle in the trenches is often one that is overlooked when it comes to analyzing the game. Everyone wants to look at the wide receiver against the best defensive back the other team has, or the quarterback against a great secondary but the battle inside is what truly turns the tide in games.
Clemson offensive lineman Gage Cervenka has spent 5 years at Clemson so he has the experience of battling inside in big game situations. He knows how to prepare, how to help his teammates, and how to perform on the biggest stage in College Football.
“They blitz, percentage wise, around twenty eight percent” Cervenka said. “Not crazy but they still blitz. Depends on what down it is, of course 3 down and 3 and long are blitzing downs but it depends”
LSU ranks 29 in total defense and 20 in rush defense. Key players to look out for on the LSU defense are the inside linebacking core of No. 18, K’Lavon Chaisson and No. 6 Patrick Queen. Both very fast, quick, and strong. They will make running up the interior difficult for Etienne and the Tigers.
Defensive End Rashard Lawrence will be lining up against either Tremayne Anchrum or Jackson Carman, which will be a matchup to watch for the game.
“They switch it up and you have to be able to tell. They’re very balanced, mix up inside and outside, it’s not always one area," Cervenka said. “They’re very balanced they are either third down or fourth down so its 50-50 either way. No. 18 is a quick pass rusher, very fast and strong. Probably bring him, another two guys and linebacker No. 8 (xxxx), he’s one of the fastest guys I’ve ever seen. He can really move so we have to account for him, if we are working up to the linebackers know where he’s working to and know where our ball is so we have leverage because if you run right at him he’s going to make you look stupid. They’re 50-50 on third down and fourth down so communicating that with tight ends will be important."
With more than two weeks to prepare for the biggest game of the season, Cervenka is fully expecting the Bayou Bengals to show them something they have yet to see on film.
"They have different packages of course, one where they take out the bigger guys and put in the quicker ones, that’s one they like to use on third downs," Cervenka said. "Whatever cup of tea they feel like having today so you never know, but you prepare for it. They may come in here and do something we’ve never seen.”