The unstoppables: How do you deal with Fournette, McCaffrey, Mayfield, Watson?

Fournette provided an example of what he can do when he reaches the second level when Auburn's Tray Matthews attempted to tackle him last season. Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sport

College football has a remarkable wealth of returning star power for 2016.

That list starts with the four Heisman frontrunners: LSU running back Leonard Fournette, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, Stanford's Christian McCaffrey and Clemson's Deshaun Watson.

This week, Adam Rittenberg cornered perplexed coaches from across the country and asked them a simple question with not-so-simple answers: How do you stop those stars?

The most common answer was, "You don't stop them," but coaches had some innovative ideas of how to minimize the damage.

Here's a sampling of how coaches break down the four standouts.

Leonard Fournette

"You tackle him low, you're probably going to be concussed. You tackle him high, you may take a ride. And they're going to force you, in the run game, to make people that don't like tackling tackle." -- SEC defensive coordinator

"If you make him go east and west, he gets tired. He's a big back, and he really shouldn't be carrying that much weight. I'd much rather have you hit him and run him out of bounds. Just keep him running, and that usually prevails." -- SEC coach

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Baker Mayfield

"You have to be careful as a pass-rusher or a blitzer. Just don't run by him. Keep him in front of you, what we call 'keep your points on the quarterback.' Don't run up the field and let him escape underneath [into] your rush lane. We had free runners to him in some of our pressures, but he just avoided the tackles. He's got really good balance." -- Defensive coordinator who faced Mayfield last year

"The thing you notice is he's always got a great pre-snap awareness of where the ball should go, so the ball's coming out quick a lot of times. You can change looks. You can't give him easy throws pre-snap." -- Big 12 head coach

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Christian McCaffrey

"He's stronger than you think, he's bigger than you think, he plays stronger than you think, he's more deceptive and elusive. I don't know what he can't do. I really believe if he played in the Central time zone or Eastern time zone, not saying he would have won the Heisman, but he would have been higher up." -- Power 5 head coach

"One of the best things to stop [McCaffrey], and I'm being serious, is don't let [Stanford] have the ball. Talk to your head coach and your offensive people into running the ball and just killing the clock, move the chains. If they don't listen to that, it's going to be what it is. You've got to try to outscore 'em." -- Pac-12 defensive coordinator

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Deshaun Watson

"Alabama couldn't defend him. Nick doesn't even like to talk about that game." -- ACC coach

"You can't view him as a typical quarterback. You've got to account for him. You have to put a few more guys in the box and do a few things to disrupt the handoffs and things that make him think a bit. But you can't play traditional soft coverage, and nobody's forcing the issue." -- Defensive line coach who faced Clemson last year

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