Clemson averaged 81.7 snaps per game last season and coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday that coaches are shooting for 82 and above.
“That’s kind of our benchmark,” Swinney said. “Outside of that, it comes down to the kind of success that you’re having. …The bottom line if you look at us, we’re probably going to score about every 13 to 15 plays. The more opportunities and at-bats we get, the more opportunity we have to score.”
Three Georgia opponents ran more than 80 plays last year--all in Bulldogs wins. Georgia Tech had 88 in losing 42-10, Tennessee had 85 in a 51-44 shootout and Missouri had 80 in falling 41-20.
“They’re as fast or faster than anybody we’ve played,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said of Clemson
The Tigers, behind quarterback Tajh Boyd, has a program record 102 snaps in a 62-48 win over N.C. State last year and 100 over LSU in a bowl win.
“We definitely want to play fast,” Swinney said. “That’s who we are, that’s what we do, what our players like. We feel like it allows us to really put a lot of pressure on the defense with the skill that we put on the field when we do play at a fast-tempo.”
Richt compared Clemson’s offense to Tennessee last year in that it had prolific receivers on the outside and a quarterback that could get them the ball.
“I don’t really care how many plays they get, just as long as we win, but it’s going to be interesting to see because both offenses have the ability to go at a pretty good clip,” Richt said.
Outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said Georgia practiced recently subbing in and out. If players didn’t run off the field in time, they had to do extra sprints after practice.
“We’ve been going fast,” inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera said, “and the quicker we get them off the field, the less plays they run.”
Erickson `excited' about possibly getting call at kicker
The last time Georgia played at Clemson, Athens own Billy Bennett booted three field goals in a row, including one from 42 yards in a 30-0 win.
Now another specialist from Athens, Adam Erickson from Clarke Central, could get the call if Marshall Morgan is indeed suspended.
“He’s played in big games before because he’s been our punter sometimes,” said Blake Sailors, a senior who covers kicks. “For pressure, I think he’d be fine. He kicks in practice all the time. I think he could easily do the job. I don’t think he’s nervous. I think he’s excited because he’s going to get to do something else besides just punt.”
Asked Wednesday on the SEC teleconference about Morgan, who plead guilty to boating under the influence, Richt said there would be no announcement before the game on his status.
“I’m sorry about that one,” Richt said.
Matthews can go, but for how long?
Safety Tray Matthews is medically cleared to play Saturday after missing much of the preseason with a strained hamstring, but Richt can’t be sure if he’ll be able to play a full game.
“The hardest part about that is that the tempo that we’re going right now isn’t a real good indicator of how he can run out, how he can burst full speed,” Richt said. “Can he do it for an entire ballgame? That’s the part that’s difficult to gauge right now and we don’t want to test it because the more days he’ll have under his belt, the more he’ll heal. We just didn’t want any setbacks.”
The freshman, who earned the starting role in the spring after enrolling early, is expected to start at free safety with Connor Norman at strong safety.
Matthews missed all three Georgia scrimmages.
“He may have gone full speed once or twice or a few times, but not anything like what would happen in a game,” Richt said. “I’m not even sure if he knows how he’s going to do right now.”
This and that
Georgia’s deep receiving corps looks like it will indeed make room for freshman speedster Reggie Davis this year. “I think Reggie will play,” Richt said. “I don’t know how much, but he’s not been on the scout team. He’s been practicing with the offense.”
Georgia safety Paris Bostick, who underwent toe surgery in June, may not be out for the season after all. Bostick was listed on Georgia’s official injury report Wednesday night as being limited to running in practice. The report came out after Richt spoke to reporters.
Add tailback A.J. Turman (knee, ankle) to players who are out Saturday, joining tailback Brendan Douglas (knee), receiver Jonathon Rumph (hamstring) and safety Corey Moore (knee). Richt said Turman and Douglas could return to practice on Monday. Wide receiver Rhett McGowan (ankle) wasn’t on the injury report, indicating he will play.
Georgia practiced with simulated crowd noise on Wednesday and will do it again today in Sanford Stadium.
Clemson freshman defensive back Jayron Kearse “is set to go,” for Saturday after missing much of the preseason with a shoulder injury, Swinney said. Tight end Jordan Leggett, coming off a knee injury, is available, but may not play.