Clemson Secondary to Be Challenged by Big, Physical Virginia Receivers


Through the first two games of the season, the Clemson secondary has been hit and miss. 

With Virginia coming to town this weekend for a primetime matchup in Death Valley, the play on the back end of the defense of the top-ranked Tigers will need to be substantially better. 

The Cavaliers offense features some big, physical pass catchers, highlighted by wideout Lavel Davis Jr. and tight end Tony Poljan, both of who stand at 6-foot-7. The two were pivotal in Virginia's season opening 38-20 win over Duke, combining for eight catches for more than 150 yards and two touchdowns.

However, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says he is confident in his teams ability to match up with the big Cavalier receivers. Getting Mario Goodrich back, as well as having Derion Kendrick fully back in the rotation should help bring some stability to the Tigers secondary. 

"First thing, you got to challenge them," Swinney said on Wednesday. "You got to get up there and compete with them at the line of scrimmage. Try to make them work to get down the field."

Swinney stressed that there are numerous things a defensive back can do to offset any disadvantage in size and that if the Tigers are going to be successful on Saturday night, it is those things they will have to do well.

"It's competitiveness on the ball, timing on the ball, all those type of things," Swinney said. "Rerouting people, not letting them have, again, free releases and make them have to have wider arcs and things like that. That cuts the field space down. And then again, you know be competitive on the ball just play with great technique. Hopefully our guys will play big and play with the type of technique, fundamentals, physicality that we need to play with to hopefully have the type of body position that we need to be in."

The Tigers head coach is says his team is looking forward to the challenge though and that they are fully expecting to get the Cavaliers best shot.

"We're excited, excited about getting back at it for a fun night in the valley," Swinney said. "Just a really good team that's playing with a lot of confidence, very well coached team that we know we'll get the very best effort from them. So we got to be ready to match that."

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