Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney met with the media Tuesday to offer some early thoughts on NC State and had plenty of kind things to say, as is custom at this point in the week. He even said he thinks the Wolfpack is a better team than UNC. I have my doubts there but thanks just the same, coach.
Dabo on the Pack's offense and Jacoby Brissett:
Looking at N.C. State offensively, they are a big challenge. They have tons of shifts. Motions. They do an excellent job scheming you and attacking you and creating big play opportunities. They created a bunch of big plays against Florida State. They had guys wide open. Bunch sets. Formations. Wide-sets. So we've got to be very disciplined there. Play-action creates a lot of opportunities for them. No. 1 offense in our conference. They are averaging over 500 yards of total offense. Offensive line is a bunch of veterans. Veteran group.
The biggest change in their whole program is the quarterback. Very impressed with him. He leads the league in touchdowns. He's big. Looks a lot like Jameis Winston. Breaks tackles and extends plays. There were times last week where there's no way that should have happened. And they couldn't get him on the ground. He created some big time plays.
One more touchdown pass will give Brissett 14 on the season, matching the team's touchdown pass total in 2013. Pete Thomas managed only four TD passes in nine games last season, while Brandon Mitchell connected on seven TD passes in seven games. The two also combined to throw 15 INTs. Brissett has one. This situation is so much different--for the better--I could cry.
NC State will have its hands full dealing with a talented quarterback as well. Deshaun Watson is off to such a great start that he's already making the loss of Tajh Boyd to graduation look like no big deal. He obliterated Carolina's defense last weekend, throwing for 435 yards and six scores. For the season, he is averaging nearly 12 yards per attempt, which is a huge number.
Dabo on Watson:
Some guys can have that big success early and it's probably a distraction because they aren't very mature. Then you have other guys, like Deshaun, who are mature and wise and mature behind their years. Sammy was the same away. He had one issue in three years. And he was the face of everything. He couldn't go anywhere. I was very impressed with how he handled the mature. Everybody wanted a piece of him. Deshaun is wired the same way. He's never been a distracted guy. He's always been very serious. He's got a maturity to him that is rare for a young guy. He's been through a lot. He's been through a very tough cancer situation with his mother. Wasn't caught up in the recruiting process. He's been a leader for a long time. He's not a redshirt freshman, he's a true freshman. He's going to have a bad game. He gets all of that.
State can hope for a few rookie mistakes out of Watson, but the defense is going to have to find some ways to be more disruptive if it hopes to avoid a rough day similar to the one it endured against FSU.