Oct 24, 2020; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Iowa State Cyclones linebacker Mike Rose (23) celebrates an interception from an Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders (not pictured) at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Phipps-USA TODAY Sports
New Clemson offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter knows he’s getting a significant test in his first game as the program’s full-time offensive coordinator.
That test comes in the form of an Iowa State defense that, like Clemson’s, has been among the best in the country throughout the season, ranking No. 24 nationally in scoring defense, No. 26 in yards allowed per play and No. 8 in yards allowed per game.
“It’s a great defense,” Streeter said on Sunday. “It’s that three-safety defense that they do a lot of things. They do a lot of disguising, and they play very, very well together. They have got a veteran group of guys on the defensive side of the ball, and they obviously know what they are doing.”
Luckily for Streeter, Iowa State’s three high safety looks will not be new for anyone associated with Clemson’s program.
That’s because the Tigers’ entire defensive staff traveled to Ames several years ago in order to learn elements of the scheme, took them back to South Carolina and implemented them. The schemes learned on that trip to Ames became instrumental in the Tigers winning the 2018 national title.
While the scheme is one thing, Iowa State defensive coordinator Jon Heacock has always attributed the success of the scheme to the players who have truly bought into its principles. That list includes guys like Mike Rose, Enyi Uwazurike, Greg Eisworth, Jake Hummel and numerous others.
Those names set Iowa State’s defense apart more than any scheme.
So, while Clemson’s already had an up-close-and-personal look at the scheme, they’ll get their first in-person look at Heacock’s defense and the players who have thrived in it on Wednesday.
“They are a really good defense, and they have got the veteran players that have the experience,” Streeter said. “They compliment each other, and it’s very obvious they play hard. They do a really good job at tackling and getting guys on the ground. So it’s going to be a good challenge for our guys.”