Last year, Florida State's secondary had the upper hand on Clemson's tremendous receiving corps. They did it with physicality.
FSU was able to jam at the LOS and reroute Clemson's receivers last year. The Chad-in a later presser-made it sound like our guys got completely manhandled. I don't agree with that for the most part but do know that the Seminoles were able to adjust the Clemson receivers off the football at will and did an excellent job fundamentally jamming the crap out of our guys. Sammy discussed this over the summer and Morris was clearly distraught about how FSU didn't give the Clemson receivers a free release so you would intuitively think this was an emphasis area. Clemson hasn't played a secondary with this much talent all year and probably won't again. I'd love to see straight up bump and run against our receivers because I think guys like Bryant and Watkins can get off the jam then make the defense really pay with speed down the field. The other key item to think about here is the timing. A jam of a receiver will throw off timing even if the receiver is able to swim, rip, or juke out of the jam. This means that Tajh will have to be alert and adjust to where his receivers are located on the field. A concern there is Tajh has gotten happy feet in the past--particularly if he has been pressured early in the game. All of these items work together on topics of this nature.
A year later, the battle will continue. Both sides have lost a top player to the NFL in a top round -- Florida State's cornerback Xavier Rhodes and Clemson's receiver De'Andre Hopkins. But plenty of talent returns.
And Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris wants his receivers have the mentality to match Florida State's physicality, as you can hear in the two videos.
There are other questions for both sides within these respective position groups.
How aggressive will Florida State actually be with Clemson's receivers? Clemson is extremely explosive, but less consistent than it was a year ago. Will FSU allow Clemson the opportunity to hit plays via being very aggressive on defense? Or will they force Clemson to consistently execute and move the ball on multi-play drives?
How will freshman safety Jalen Ramsey, making just his third ever start at safety after moving from corner following the neck injury to Tyler Hunter, handle the awesome Clemson offense? The Tigers are sure to attack him.
For Clemson, part of its fate rests on the shoulders of an uber-talented, but inconsistent player: Martavis Bryant. Bryant is 6'5, 200 with great speed and leaping ability. He also doesn't always run great routes and has at times struggled with drops and discipline.
But he'll get his chances Saturday night, against single coverage, because of the attention that Sammy Watkins demands from the defense. If the Bryant who went for six catches and two touchdowns at N.C. State shows up, Clemson will have an excellent shot to win. If he doesn't take advantage of FSU paying a ton of attention to Watkins, it'll be tougher for the Tigers.