Inside The Game – Clemson

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Clint Sintim

Virginia senior linebacker Clint Sintim had a very respectable game on Saturday; he finished with 6 tackles against the Tigers. While Sintim did not record a sack, he did find his way into the backfield on numerous occasions to force Clemson’s Cullen Harper to move his plans from the pocket to elsewhere. Of course, he also drew a 15-yard personal foul penalty as well.

But one play that impressed me probably didn’t draw much attention from anyone else. After all, it was just one of 68 total offensive plays for Clemson. Just one random play of rushing the passer. The ball was gone by the time Sintim got to Harper and it’s nothing that the TV cameras would have closed in on since it didn’t result in a sack. To me, however, it showed just how far Sintim has come in his career and even since one year ago.

On the play in question, Sintim lined up the right side of the defensive line in a three-point stance and exploded upfield on the snap. After a step or two, Clemson’s tackle engaged Sintim and attempted to corral his speed by trying to turn the block to the outside and farther up the field. Not happening. Sintim won the battle of the hands, dropping both of his arms and hands inside of the tackle’s arms and delivered a double punch to the pads that moved the lineman back a full stride – it looked a lot like a sled drill to be honest. A split second later, Sintim used a swim/brush move with his arms to knock the tackle’s inside arm out of the way and tipped the big man’s balance to the outside of the field. From there, it was a quick acceleration toward the pocket and Harper.

Like I said, the ball was already gone. It was generally a ‘why mention it’ play. But watching Sintim’s timing and technique blend together on the move was a real eye-opener to how far he’s come in his time at Virginia … oh and it’s also part of why he has 11 sacks this season and 20 in his last two years in the orange and blue.

Cavalier coach Al Groh said Sintim’s ability and potential really started to show through