Most college football programs would be spiraling into disarray upon finding out three defensive starters, including a potential future NFL star like defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, were suspended for using synthetic steroids and will miss a Playoff game against a high-scoring Notre Dame offense.
Some big Playoff roster news over Christmas Eve/Christmas:— College Football by SB Nation (@SBNationCFB) December 26, 2018
Clemson's Dexter Lawrence is waiting on the result of another test to see if he can play in the Cotton Bowl https://t.co/K5sq1AfHLd
Most programs, however, aren't Clemson.
With a Broyles Award-winning defensive coordinator in Brent Venables and presumptive impact pros like Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins, and Austin Bryant along their defensive line, the Tigers have the troops to wriggle out of this predicament.
The Tigers are so confident in their ability to play without Lawrence that Ferrell even saw fit to joke about it during media availability this week.
#Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell on why defensive coordinator Brent Venables is so intense: “I don’t know, maybe he should be the one that’s drug tested.”— Carter Karels (@CarterKarels) December 26, 2018
The notoriously volcanic Venables has helped make Clemson's defense one of the most feared units in the country. Players like Ferrell and Lawrence make for a hellish duo that are nearly impossible to run against.
Losing Lawrence obviously hurts, but with the über-intense Venables directing a cast of future pro players, Clemson should still like their chances against the Irish.