DANIA BEACH, Fla. — Clemson is already going to have its hands full when it plays No. 6 Tennessee in the Orange Bowl on Friday. That challenge might have gotten even more difficult on Wednesday.
Cornerback Sheridan Jones missed practice and did not even dress out. The seventh-ranked Tigers are already thin at corner with Malcom Greene out for the year due to a groin injury and Fred Davis leaving school and transferring to UCF.
There has been no official word from Clemson (11-2) on what Jones’ injury is or if he will miss Friday’s Orange Bowl.
If Jones can’t go, the Tigers will have to defend the nation’s number one offense without him. The Vols lead the nation in scoring (47.3 ppg) and total offense (538.1 ypg). Tennessee also ranks third nationally in passing offense (332.3 ypg).
“They use those wide splits and try to create extra space in the seams. It’s kind of unique,” Clemson defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin said. “You don’t see it very often, but it creates a lot of stress and a multitude of problems defensively.”
The Volunteers’ pace also causes issues.
“(We are) trying to create stress and practice using no huddle offense moving the ball up and down the field,” Goodwin said. “(We’re) trying to create stress and make it unrealistic so just our guys have a feel for what it’s going to be like on Friday night.”
Tennessee (10-2) does a good job at attacking an opponent’s biggest weakness. With Jones possibly out and the Tigers already thin at corner, the Vols will likely attack the Tigers there.
“They do an amazing job offensively as a staff of game planning, figuring out your weakest links, who to attack and how to create matchups,” Goodwin said. “That’s what the game of football is all about –players and matchups at the end of the day and they do a great job with formations and using motions to create those matchups and give their receivers the ability to run their routes based off of leverages and a lot of choice option routes.”