Clemson’s Vic Beasley is a quarterback-sacking, run-disrupting one-man wrecking crew.
The task of keeping him from blowing up plays Saturday likely will fall to Georgia Tech tackles Errin Joe and Bryan Chamberlain.
With a combination of speed, strength, leverage and technique, Beasley, 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, is tied for the ACC lead in sacks (8) and tied for second in tackles for loss (12.5).
“Everybody knows he’s coming … and he’s still very successful,” Tech offensive line coach Mike Sewak said.
Joe and Chamberlain have watched film of Beasley and were complimentary while trying to maintain their focus.
“No matter his credentials, I don’t look at him any different,” Chamberlain, 6-foot-4, 295 pounds, said. “I’m still going to do my job.”
“It’s going to be a test, but I think we can handle it,” Joe, 6-foot-3, 313 pounds, said. “If we keep doing the same things we’ve been doing, we should be good.”
Beasley was just as milquetoast.
“Georgia Tech has fast tackles,” he said. “They are really quick at do what they do.”
Because of Joe and Chamberlain, as well as the fact that Tech rarely passes, the line has had success against some of the conference’s best pass rushers this season.
Virginia’s Henry Coley, the ACC’s sacks co-leader, was held out without a sack or a tackle for loss in a 35-10 drubbing of the Cavaliers.
For the season, the Yellow Jackets have allowed seven sacks for an offense that has averaged 38.8 points and more than 480 yards per game. In the past three games, the offense has averaged 49 points and 523 yards per game. It hasn’t given up a sack in its 33 pass attempts in those games.
The line is a big part of that.
Coach Paul Johnson wouldn’t say the line is playing better than any line he’s had at Tech, but he has said it is playing together very well.
“When you rush for that there are people getting in the way,” he said.
They’ll need to do that against Beasley.
He has twice faced Tech, with limited success. In last year’s 55-31 win, Beasley had two tackles, 1.5 for loss, and a quarterback hurry.
Beasley said the nature of Tech’s offense contributed to the lack of stats.
“Whole aspect of pass-rushing has to be thrown away,” he said.
The hurry came against Will Jackson in the game’s second quarter. Jackson said he didn’t do what he was coached to do and gave Beasley too much space. Jackson said Sewak “politely reminded” him that he didn’t do as he was taught. Jackson did so the rest of the game and limited Beasley’s success. Jackson gave the credit to the coaching staff, noting that they won’t have the offense drop back and pass 50 times against a future first-round draft pick.
Maintaining that focus will be the challenge for Joe and Chamberlain on Saturday. One slip, and Beasley can change the game.
“There’s a reason he’s going to get millions of dollars playing professional football,” Jackson said.