CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – The Miami Hurricanes began preparing on Tuesday for one of their biggest challenges of the season.
The 6th ranked Clemson Tigers come calling Saturday at noon at Sun Life Stadium. Clemson is 17th in the nation against the run and 6th against the pass, 10th in total defense and 14th in scoring, allowing just 16 points per game.
On offense Clemson is led by preseason ACC Player of the Year, quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The sophomore signal caller is gifted, accurate, has awareness and makes sharp decisions. Watson is so smooth when he runs it looks as if he is barely moving.
For Miami the emergence of wide receiver Stacy Coley the last two weeks has given the offense a boost and another playmaker for quarterback Brad Kaaya.
“Stacy has really played well; He has looked strong and confident. We need him to continue getting into the secondary and catching the ball on the run,” said Miami head coach Al Golden.
Coley caught seven passes against FSU and added four more against Virginia Tech. The Clemson secondary is athletic and fast and will do their best to neutralize Coley.
The Tigers will try to control the game by running the football and creating big plays on short and long runs after the catch.
The Miami defense has eleven interceptions, 7th best in the country and one behind Alabama.
Forcing turnovers and creating havoc in the Clemson backfield will be emphasized in this week’s preparation.
Rush end Al-Quadin Muhammad and defensive end Chad Thomas have emerged as defensive playmakers.
“Quan Muhammad and Chad are starting to just let it rip and it’s great to see, ’’said Golden. “And we need them to create negative plays Saturday.”
The Canes were moving quickly and looked excited during Tuesday’s practice.
“It was a good day of practice. We had good energy and focus,” said Golden. “This is a great opportunity for our program. Clemson has been where we want to go.”
Clemson is coming to Miami after playing three straight home games and have only played one game on the road this year.
The Tigers are 17-16 on the road under Dabo Swinney, but 10-5 in the last four years.
Listen to the Miami Hurricanes take on the Clemson Tigers this Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on Sports Radio 560 WQAM, your official radio home for the Canes!
Follow Joe Zagacki on Twitter (@canesvoice)