Dabo Swinney was in a complimentary mood during his Tuesday press conference, and I’m sure if I hadn’t lost to a team in a decade, I probably wouldn’t have any reason for ill will either. NC State hopes to snap its lengthy losing streak to Clemson on Saturday, and if it does so, the defense will have to be at its best.
Swinney is impressed with what he’s seen from the Wolfpack on that side of the ball:
Defensively, they look like us on tape, different schematics but they look like us in how they run to the football, how physical they are, very well-coached, fundamentally sound, they do a super job. Guys that have played a lot of football on all three levels.
That’s some high praise and/or an attempt to jinx us. (How dare you, Dabo!) But it’s been warranted with the way the Pack has performed early, and according to SP+, it’s been one of the 25 best defenses in FBS. There are things we can quibble about, but in general that group has been as good as we hoped it would be.
In other news, the Tigers will be without defensive tackle Tyler Davis, who’ll miss a couple months after tearing a bicep (sounds very painful) against Georgia Tech. Davis started all three of Clemson’s games this year, though I’m gonna venture a guess and say his absence probably doesn’t make a huge difference to the effectiveness of that defensive front.
I wouldn’t hate a defensive battle if that’s what ends up materializing. And in the spirit of ongoing kindness, maybe Clemson could do NC State the courtesy of missing a last-second game-winning field goal this time.