Published: Sun, September 17, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Pick 'em Week 3: Can the NCAA's best walk the walk?

Pick 'em Week 3: Can the NCAA's best walk the walk?

That's how good the front seven played.

Both of them have the hardware to back up their supremacy claims. How can you not win the Heisman with that body of work? They are led by 2016 Heisman Trophy victor Lamar Jackson.

But before that, he has his eyes set on revenge against a Clemson team that stole his shot at an ACC Championship last season. Jackson made headlines past year for his astonishing season which culminated in a Heisman Trophy. Sure, the Volunteers earned a "W" last season, but the Gators have won the previous 11 meetings.

"He can make something out of nothing all day", Venables said of Jackson, comparing the Cardinals QB to former Texas great Vince Young who he faced a few times while at Oklahoma. That means all you've seen from either of these teams is Tennessee struggling to get past Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Florida having difficulty grasping the basic concepts of offensive football against Michigan Wolverines. I'll be honest it's because of all the plays he makes when it's not there. But as long as he's there, Louisville is a contender.

Louisville's offense will be ideal reply to the Tigers defense as it is averaging 614.5 yards per game and takes the fifth spot nationally in total offense.

Bryant made a name for himself two years ago when the freshman came in for injured starter Shaq Lawson and held his own with eight tackles in a 37-17 national semifinal win over Oklahoma.

In 2016, UofL went to Clemson and out-gained them 568-507 in total offense but lost the game 36-42.

Clemson's sustained success is built of deeper stock.

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A huge difference between the Jackson who awed the college football world past year and the one who is again performing at a high level this fall, is that he is going through his passing progressions. That's the reason he's now the highest paid assistant coach in the nation, making $1.7 million a year. Only Maryland and San Jose State allowed more.

"If he's looking to pass, you'd better cover" the receivers, Venables said.

That's what keeps the 46-year-old Venables around when he would certainly be a coveted target in the annual coaching carousel.

"They're very good up front", Petrino said. I'm just ready to compete with him, and it's just going to be a challenge. The junior signal caller played well last week against one of the best defenses in the league last Saturday in the Auburn Tigers.

The following Week Clemson faced Auburn and once again came out on top 14-6.

Zach Lentz is a Clemson University alumnus who got his start working with the Tigers basketball team from 1999-2004.

If the Tigers are going to emerge from Saturday's game with a win over No. 14 Louisville, it will be because they protect the football. But Clemson stands to lose plenty in this game and they can not afford any slip ups this week.

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said Clemson's Venables does a good job mixing up coverages and adjusting to the opponents' attack. If Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins, Austin Bryant, Clelin Ferrell and Co. can contain Jackson enough for Kelly Bryant and Clemson's retooled offense to score enough points in their first road game, the Tigers will have the inside track to another title run. Clemson's defense is as imposing as it gets, and it will get its shots in on Jackson. It costs a lot of money to manufacture Kryptonite, but his value in building what's becoming a Clemson dynasty is priceless.

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