It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams billboard material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused cliches used during the year.
In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2018, Athlon asked coaches in the ACC to talk anonymously about their opponents.
Note: These scouting reports come directly from coaching staffs and do not necessarily reflect the views of Athlon's editorial staff.
ACC Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2018
"It’s just such a tough place to win. They were better, more formidable when they were in the Big East because it was easier to recruit against those teams. Steve (Addazio) is doing about the best he can do there."
"That team begins and ends with AJ Dillon. Holy cow, what a player he is. If he were running around in the backfield at Clemson, he’d be a top-five Heisman Trophy guy. Then again, he might not be getting the carries needed to be a Heisman guy in that backfield. Too much sharing going on there. BC, on the other hand, just feeds him game after game."
"I can remember at one point, our coaches were laughing when watching game tape of Dillon. Not laughing at him, laughing at how ridiculously good he is."
"They’re always if not the most, one of the top three, physical teams in our conference. Look, when you play that group, you’re going to get beaten up. That’s how Steve coaches those guys."
"They’ve got to get better at quarterback. (Anthony) Brown was just a freshman last year, and he has a chance to be better. He made a lot of poor decisions."
"At least once a year, they’re going to win a game they shouldn’t because they’re simply tougher than the other guy."
"There’s not a better example of the vital importance of recruiting than what has gone on at Clemson in the last six or seven years. Dabo (Swinney) knew from Day 1 it’s not about X’s and O’s, it’s about those Jimmys and Joes. They are so good and so deep and so talented at just about every position. What do they have, a couple five-star quarterbacks on that roster? We recruited Trevor Lawrence hard, and trust me when I say this: He’s the real deal. He may not be the starter in the first week of the season, but I’d be shocked if he’s not by the last."
"They didn’t throw the ball last year as well as they have in the past. They weren’t a threat downfield, and a lot of their stuff that was successful came on broken plays. Think about how good that team was when you aren’t really efficient in the passing game and still get to the playoff."
"You look at that defensive line, and I’m not kidding, there are NFL teams that would be pretty happy having that group. You’re looking at a two-deep of guys that will play in the NFL. Guys that are legitimate disrupters, like Dexter Lawrence and Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins and Austin Bryant. It just never stops."
"They’re just so good on the lines of scrimmage. They maul you on the offensive line, then have the fast and deceptively strong tailbacks that run through creases and run over defenders in the second level."
"They have 14 starters returning. Dabo is not going to put up with an average passing game again."
"Folks might be getting tired of hearing about how fantastic a coach David Cutcliffe is, but he truly is one of a kind. When you can’t get the elite athletes like FSU and Clemson and Miami, you have to find a way to get your guys to play at top level — and give them the right plan to make it all happen. He has done that year after year at Duke, and has stayed loyal to that university. He could have left for other jobs numerous times."
"They struggled in the passing game last year, and it wasn’t just the quarterbacks. Cut will usually have one or two guys that can win on the outside, yet last year they really had no one that could do it. They didn’t have a receiver who could go up and get a ball, or a guy that could get physical and get open any time he wanted to. That was a big problem, and it certainly didn’t help (QB) Daniel Jones, who I think regressed from his freshman year."
"Look at their games last year; they could’ve won three or four other games where they just didn’t get enough offense — but their defense did enough to keep them in the game. That’s how they’ve played on that side of the ball during Cut’s time there."
"They almost have to be perfect on offense. That’s why Jones’ regression and the receivers’ struggles became so magnified."
"They’re very fundamental defensively. They’re not going to force you into mistakes and dictate a game, but they’ll wait you out until you make a mistake on your own."
"Sometimes these players just need to hear a new voice. Jimbo (Fisher) is a hard charger, a Nick Saban clone. He’s an in-your-face kind of guy, and I think that was beginning to wear on that team. So now you bring in (Willie) Taggart, and all of a sudden, it’s like the sun is shining again. But be careful