CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Clemson lineman Matt Bockhorst says the Tigers aren’t kidding themselves when it comes to knowing what they are in for against Georgia: an “oil check.”

“They have a pretty stout front line, and they have some size as well, so off the bat I know it’s gonna be a physical matchup,” Bockhorst, a 6-foot-4, 315-pound senior was saying at ACC Media Days.

“I know it’s going to test us quickly in ways we were potentially deficient last year.”

That’s a nice way of saying the Clemson offensive line has its work cut out for it against the Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

Georgia has led the nation in run defense each of the past two years and looks salty as ever with nosetackle Jordan Davis (6-6, 345), Devonte Wyatt (6-3, 315) and a pair of 5-star 2019 signees on the edges in Travon Walker (6-5, 275) and Nolan Smith (6-3, 235).

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“It’s going to be a challenge from Day One, which is great,” Bockhorst said. “We need to be challenged, and we need to have our oil checked before the postseason.”

Psychological challenge

Georgia’s coaching staff is buzzing with defensive wizards, from head coach Kirby Smart to senior analyst Will Muschamp and coordinator Dan Lanning.

The Tigers’ offensive line returns three starters to a unit that ranked 11th in the ACC in average rushing yards per game (153.8) despite featuring first-round 2021 NFL Draft pick Travis Etienne at tailback.

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“Number one it’s their physicality, and number two the plurality of how they play,” Bockhorst said, explaining the challenge the Bulldogs’ defensive front presents. “I think you’re gonna see a lot of different looks, and they are gonna try to challenge you from a communications standpoint.

“Can you identify whether it’s odd or even (front)? Is it an odd traditional or odd stack? Are they blitzing, are they bringing pressure? So there’s a lot of different presentations of how they are going to do things and that will challenge us from a communications standpoint.”

Clemson football is a perennial College Football Playoff team, having made six straight trips to the sport’s version of the “Final Four.”

The Tigers have faced Alabama four of the past six years, splitting the meetings 2-2 and winning the most recent matchup, 44-16, in the 2020 title game.

The Tide’s defensive schemes have been very similar to Georgia’s even after Smart left his previous defensive coordinator position at Alabama to become UGA’s head coach.

“We have experienced teams that are on that level as far as what they bring on third down,” Bockhorst said. “Now, there are (also) other teams that are more vanilla.”

Physical challenge

Bockhorst put it all into perspective in terms of how the Georgia front presents a unique challenge.

“When you talk about teams on that level that have that complicated of a scheme and players to back it up, that’s when you can be effective,” Bockhorst said.

“A lot of teams might have a very complicated scheme but they really can’t execute. But to have the athletes to execute is what really makes them a potential threat.”

Clemson has a special defensive front, too, with three linemen taking up four of the first-team preseason All-ACC slots.

“I definitely think (Georgia’s defensive line) would be in the conversation, I think they are different styles,” Bockhorst said. “From a size perspective, they’re huge, so it’s different than Clemson, but I think they have a uniquely talented front.”