CLEMSON’S OFFENSIVE LINE MUST FIND A WAY TO STOP MINGO AND MONTGOMERY
For a long time we thought Georgia safety Baccari Rambo had the coolest name in all of college football. Now we know that distinction belongs to Louisiana State University’s junior defensive end Barkevious Mingo.
You read that right … dude’s name is “Barkevious.”
Seriously … how cool is that? Not only does he have an awesome name,”Barkevious” – a 6-foot-5, 240-pound native of West Monroe, Louisiana – is one of two LSU defensive linemen projected to be a top fifteen pick in the 2013 NFL draft. The other? Fellow junior Sam Montgomery – a 6-foot-5, 260 pound native of Greenwood, S.C.
Yeah … we expect “All-American” quarterback Tajh Boyd to get to know both players exceedingly well on New Year’s Eve when his Clemson Tigers play LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia. In fact given the atrocious performance turned in by Clemson’s offensive line against the University of South Carolina defense last month, Mingo and Montgomery are no doubt salivating at the chance to add some choice clips to their pre-draft highlight reel.
Adept at speed rushing (i.e. blazing past offensive linemen) and bull rushing (i.e. running over them), Mingo and Montgomery represent the heart and soul of LSU’s elite defensive unit – which ranks among the nation’s Top Ten in several categories. In fact their pass-rushing prowess is one reason LSU is able to commit so many players to defending against the pass – which will come in handy against the aerially inclined Clemson offense.
It boils down to this: If Clemson’s offensive line can contain Mingo and Montgomery, then head coach Dabo Swinney’s team has a chance to win this game and take a major step forward as a program. If not, it’s going to be another long night for Clemson fans.
Boyd has put up stratospheric numbers over the last two seasons under Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris – amassing 7,378 yards and 67 touchdowns through the air. He’s also rushed for 710 yards and another fourteen touchdowns. Of course most of those gaudy statistics have come against inferior ACC opponents like Boston College, Duke, Maryland and N.C. State.
Clemson’s offense has yet to demonstrate that it can compete against an elite SEC defense … and we don’t expect them to turn in a “statement game” against the likes of Mingo and Montgomery.
FITS’ founding editor Will Folks – who has made some excellent predictions this year (including this one) – will be issuing his “#FITSPick” for the Chick-fil-A Bowl shortly before kickoff on New Year’s Eve. Until then, we invite our readers to weigh in by posting their picks in our comments section below …