Clemson Football: Why the Defense May Steal the Show on Saturday Against Troy

Colby LanhamCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2011

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Xavier Brewer #29 of the Clemson Tigers intercepts a pass intended for Shaun Kitchens #4 of the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The time is upon again upon us. Football season is back once again.

And for Clemson fans, it means a return to the same old Death Valley. But this year, the fans will hope to be watching a different Clemson team running down the Hill. And they may just get their wish.

With a new offense and a young yet talented defense, the Clemson Tigers will face an unerrated Troy team that will be looking to spoil the Tigers' first home game of the season. They will be facing a new look offense under first year coordiantor Chad Morris, whose fast paced offense has gained plenty of attention duirng the off-season.

On defense, third year defensive coordinator Kevin Steele must find a way to replace the production of defensive linemen Jarvis Jenkins and Daquan Bowers, who recorded 15 sacks and won the Nagurski Award. Steele will look to seniors Rennie Moore and Brandon Thompson to lead the group, and Mallicah Goodman will replace Bowers as the starter at defensive end.

While many a Clemson will be interested in what the new offense will bring to the table, fans should be careful that the defense doesn't surprise and steal the show despite the new, fast paced offense.

These days, while offenses can bring a lot of fire power, as was the case with Oregon and Auburn in the National Championship, the team that played the better defense won that game. Auburn was more physical and made more plays on defense, which proved to be Oregon's downfall late in the game.

This season, with a first year offensive coordiantor, Clemson's strength will ultmately be its defense. With the loss of Jenkins and Bowers, Steele has been working on different schemes and formations to increase Clemson's pass rushing ability, hinting at more three down linemen formations, especially with the kind of talent they now have at linebacker. Against Troy, the defense will not be able to sleep easy when hey're on the field.

Troy has won the Sun Belt Conference the past few seasons, and have shown they have a very competitive offense, taking Oklahoma State donw to the wire last season. Despite an unsuccessful campaign in 2010