ACC Coaches Effusive In Their Praise Of Lamar Jackson

    Heisman Trophy contender Lamar Jackson faces a huge test on Saturday night when Louisville travels to battle Clemson in Death Valley. ACC coaches know that Jackson poses difficult matchup problems.

    September 29, 2016

    Heisman Trophy contender Lamar Jackson faces a huge test on Saturday night when Louisville travels to battle Clemson in Death Valley. But ACC coaches know that Jackson poses very difficult matchup problems.


    Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson has taken the college football world by storm this season, and his coming out party came against one of the top preseason contenders for the College Football Playoff.

    Against Florida State less than two weeks ago, the Boynton Beach, FL, product proved that his play against weaker competition in previous weeks was no fluke, as he helped the then-No. 10 Cardinals obliterate the then-No. 2 Seminoles, 63-20, at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

    Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher admitted during Wednesday’s weekly ACC coaches teleconference that Jackson’s performance was quite the spectacle.

    “I don’t know if anyone in America can run like him,” Fisher said.

    Jackson did indeed run all over the Seminoles, recording 146 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries. He added another 216 yards and a score through the air. Each time he has laced up his cleats this year, he has been the best player on the field.

    Throwing for 13 passing touchdowns through four games is impressive enough for a quarterback. To have an additional 12 scores on the ground to make it 25 total touchdowns just one-third of the way through the season is quite ridiculous.

    And that’s exactly how Jackson’s play has been this year: ridiculous.

    Which is why the dual-threat signal-caller is the clear frontrunner for the sport’s most prestigious individual award, the Heisman Trophy. It’s also why this week’s showdown at Clemson is so intriguing.

    The Tigers have yet to face (and probably won’t face the rest of the way) a high-powered offense led by such an electric quarterback. Heck, the Tigers may not have seen someone quite like Jackson since Dabo Swinney took over. On the flip side, Jackson hasn’t seen anything like this Brent Venables-coordinated defense either. It’s a unit that is in the Top 10 nationally in three major categories: scoring defense (11.0 points per game), passing defense (125.8 yards per game) and total defense (218.5 ypg).

    Swinney knows that he has a fierce defense. But he’s also quick to acknowledge that Jackson is a special talent.

    “He’s one of those ‘hold your breath’ guys,” Swinney noted during Wednesday’s teleconference. “He has the ability to change the game with one play.”

    And one play may be the only thing that separates win from loss in what should be one of the best games of the season. Moreover, it’s a contest that could help decide which team comes out of the ACC Atlantic Division.

    We have heard the true sophomore Jackson get compared to former Virginia Tech star quarterback Michael Vick because of the pair’s similar attributes: quickness, speed, arm strength and throwing motion. But comparing Jackson to anyone discredits the run he is actually on to begin the season.

    Jackson’s head coach, Bobby Petrino, was asked during Wednesday’s teleconference about his quarterback’s play thus far. He cited Jackson’s hurdle over a Syracuse defender in the Friday night game in Week 2 as a moment that wowed him.

    “The first thing I was thinking was, ‘What the heck are you doing?'” Petrino said. “The next thing I was thinking was, ‘Wow, great play.'”

    Swinney better hope he does not share similar thoughts on Saturday night at Frank Howard Field in Memorial Stadium. Because if Jackson puts on another show, there may be no words to describe the kind of season he is enjoying.

    MORE: 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 5

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