CLEMSON - Two weeks of option football down, a date on the road with the Gamecocks to go for Brent Venables' defense.
Against Georgia Tech and The Citadel, Clemson held the run-geared schemes to 84 less rushing yards a game combined - with 20 tackles for loss. Against the Bulldogs, the Tiger 'D' held an opponent without a touchdown for the first time in 33 games.
The task changes this week, however, as South Carolina hurt the Tigers through the air last season (310 yards/3 TDs) in a 27-17 win in Death Valley. The second-year defensive coordinator wraps up The Citadel and looks ahead...
Tigers are better, but can't play timid versus Gamecocks: They're a good football team. Well-coached. Good players. They've been tough, disciplined. We didn't coach or play them well last year. Will be a great challenge that we're looking forward too. Saturday will get here soon enough.
I think we're a better unit than we were a year ago, but does that mean we'll play better? No it doesn't. We'll need a good week of how we work and investment and we need to go out there and execute. Play on the balls of our feet and you have to have a go for broke attitude. Football, you can't play in a timid way, certainly this game. It will be a good physical challenge for us and our guys are excited for that challenge. I think we're playing with a different level of confidence than a year ago and just playing at a more consistent level as well.
The Citadel's run attack: The Citadel has some really good schemes and unique ways to leverage and get outside of you. A couple drives they were working us inside and going to the boundary, they did a good job of trying to keep us off-balance. The option teams present different issues both physically with their blocking schemes and certainly stress mentally and stress in space.
Quandon Christian's status (ankle): He thinks he'll practice Monday. He's walking around so I expect him (back).
Did the Tigers peek ahead to South Carolina last week?: I don't like that. I have respect for how to play the game and to respect the opponent. I would never put the cart before the horse. Everything has its time. Last week was a time invested in The Citadel and now it's time for the next one. One game is never any bigger or better - they're all important as you go. I'm not wired that way.
More on the performance Saturday: I thought it was pretty good. I liked the energy our guys played with. I thought they executed really pretty good. Played with good effort. We got a bunch of guys out there and thought we were in pretty good shape today.