Here are a few keys that we will be looking for against GT.
Clemson's ability to play sound fundamental defense. We have probably assessed the veer/wing-t/flexbone more than any other opponent's scheme this offseason. As previously posted success or failure will come from CU's defensive ability to have each individual team member do his job. Don't get out of position on the dive, make the end your force man, then make a tackle, and do not get lulled to sleep. IF Clemson can abide by these rules, GT should be limited on offense.
Turnover battle. Last season, GT was +4 in the turnover battle, with one of the interceptions turning into a pick-6. Clemson will need to limit the poor decisions (both with Parker in the pocket and with Napier/Swinney with the play calling). On the GT side of the football, the veer is fairly complex. If the defense can pressure the pitchman, a fumbled lateral is extremely possible. Keep in mind that GT put the ball on the ground quite a few times last week, losing it 3 times. Long and short, both signal callers will need to make good decisions and put the ball on the money--Parker downfield and Nesbitt with the laterals.
Clemson's offensive line. We will see many fewer fronts and looks this week than last. We will also see a much more talented group of folks on the defensive side. I fully expect GT to attempt to force Clemson to throw the ball early. This means putting extra people in the box, run blitzing, etc... Clemson's keys to identifying, anticipating, and adjusting to these looks will dictate the course of play. Obviously, we will watch to see how the Tigers fire off the ball. Swinney openly discussed becoming more physical, and this is a good week to start.
Special teams could decide this one. As we all know, CU' Spiller and Ford and GT's Jerrard Tarrant notched TD returns last week. Clemson looked pretty good punting the ball. The big question I think lies on Richard Jackson's leg. He looked confident last weekend despite the two long misses. The last time we were in Bobby Dodd stadium missed fieldgoals absolutely killed the Tigers.
Hopefully we will run the ball like this tonight: