Sep 3, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) passes against the Auburn Tigers during the first quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
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The Clemson football team will host Troy in their first home game of the season. Here are three keys to the game for the Tigers.
The Clemson football team will host Troy in their home opener on Saturday.
The Tigers were able to squeak out a road win against Auburn to open the season and now they will look to improve to 2-0 in front of their home crowd in Death Valley.
Let’s take a look at three keys for Clemson football against Troy tomorrow.
Sep 3, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) calls out the Auburn Tigers defense during the first quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
3) Work out the offensive kinks
Did you watch that Clemson-Aubun game last week? Wow, the offense was not what we thought it would be.
The Tiger offensive line had trouble opening up holes in the running game, Deshaun Watson made some poor decisions, and there were several drops along the way.
Wayne Gallman ran out of bounds on a play that would have ended the game if he stayed in bounds and they struggled to put points on the board.
This week, the Clemson football offense will need to work out their kinks and get on the same page.
I think you will see Watson spread the ball out to several different options.
Look for the Tigers to get guys like Artavis Scott, Jordan Leggett, and Deon Cain going. Mike Williams will still get some catches, but I expect the ball to be divided more this week than that of last.
I also think you will see the offensive line gain some continuity and play better as a group. They struggled at times last week with a really good Auburn defensive line, but definitely have room for improvement.
I look for the offensive line to take the steps they need to and that will get Wayne Gallman and others going in the running game.
Sep 3, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Sean White (13) lays on the ground after being tackled by Clemson Tigers linebacker Dorian O
2) Let the young guys go to work
We saw very little of the Clemson football freshmen last week.
Dexter Lawrence played a good bit and Tre Lamar saw the field for a few snaps, but other than that there were little-to-no freshmen that saw the field.
That will not be the case this week.
Clemson football, in my opinion, will play freshmen early and often.
You will see guys like Sean Pollard, Tavien Feaster, and Cornell Powell on the offense and then you will see Tre Lamar, a healthy dosage of Dexter Lawrence, K’Von Wallace, and Trayvon Mullen on defense.
The key to this game will be giving the young players playing time so that the coaching staff can assess who will be able to help the team later in the season.
This week- and next week against S.C. State- will be dress rehearsals for the Clemson football freshmen to see who will be able to take the field in games later in the season.
Sep 3, 2016; Auburn, AL, USA; Clemson Tigers team members sing the alma mater after the game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium. Clemson defeated Auburn 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
1) Stay Healthy
This is the most important key for Clemson football against Troy this week.
Can the Tigers stay healthy?
Can Clemson refrain from being injured?
If you answer yes, I would say this is a win for Clemson football. In games past like these, you’ve seen players go down with injuries that have gone out for several weeks.
They need to stay healthy and just get through this game and the next without injury.
That is my biggest concern and that is what I will be watching for most on Saturday.