Steele talks Clemson defense, Maryland and injuries


by - Senior Writer -
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CLEMSON- Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele met with the media Tuesday afternoon in the WestZone, and weighed in on his defense, Maryland and injuries.

On preparing for Maryland

“It is different. Their coordinator [Gary Crowton] came from LSU and he is a very good football coach and a bright guy. He will be the closest coach with a national championship ring on his finger in that stadium Saturday. They have got talent, but they have a little bit of moving parts. They have had some guys in and out of the lineup for different reasons, with receivers missing games and some offensive line fluctuation. Some constants for them are Justus Pickett and Davis Meggett – they have been there. They play two quarterbacks. They are the same in some regards in that they will play the zone read. The biggest thing on the zone read is that 16 [C.J. Brown] keeps it and has done the distance a couple of times. He is a tall, lanky guy that can run. But [Danny] O’Brien will pull it and he will run, too. They have receivers that have the potential to come out of there with a big game. We have to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

On Maryland’s 2-3 start

“They have a new staff and a new coordinator and this is their fifth or sixth game. It takes a little bit to get it in synch. They played West Virginia, which is a very good football team. Against Towson, I think it was 14-3 in the fourth quarter, and they had a couple of drives where they just drove it down the field methodically and they scored.

On if LB Stephone AnthonyStephone Anthony
Fr. Linebacker
#12 6-3, 235
Polkton, NC

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was at practice Monday

“We don’t allow them to get hurt. Our motto is ‘Treatment on Sunday and practice on Monday.’ “

On former RB coach Andre Powell, who is now at Maryland

“I sent him a text asking him which quarterback they were going to play. He sent me a text back and asked me if ours was going to play.”

On Martin JenkinsMartin Jenkins
So. Defensive Back
#14 5-9, 175
Roswell, GA

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seeing more time at nickel back

“You know, he was a starter in the spring, but sometimes we are more secretive than we should be. He had been injured and he is now well. He is a bright guy, and he is actually one of better tacklers we have, too. Pound for pound, he is one of our better tacklers.”

On younger players learning patience

“We tell them that, and I go back to the old story I have personally coached a guy who started as freshman, who started as a sophomore, and then got beat out as a junior. Then, I have a guy [Buster Davis] who didn’t get his pants dirty the first three years, and then he went on and played in the NFL. He literally did not get his pants dirty.”

On the up-tempo offense

“These days, it’s only a surprise when you are not prepared for it, don’t prepare for it or it is new. And it isn’t new. We see it in practice every day.”

On the improved play of the Clemson front four


“You expect that out of Brandon ThompsonBrandon Thompson
Sr. Defensive Tackle
#98 6-2, 310
Thomasville, GA

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. There were five or six games last year where he was a very dominant player. It is kind of hard to be a factor when you are a nose tackle, and they throw a bubble screen out to the boundary or they throw a quick slant out to the boundary. Earlier this season, there just weren’t a lot of direct runs and not a lot of dropback passes. It was just catch and throw it. It was a linebacker/defensive back game. That was the first couple of games, and then we had the option game and that was all out on the perimeter. He still has been a dominant player, and we have gotten good snaps from Andre BranchAndre Branch
RS Sr. Defensive End
#40 6-5, 260
Richmond, VA

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and Rennie. They have done some good things.”

On Tig Willard

“He has a high motor and gives relentless effort. He is very focused, he knows the scheme and he is a very good tackler. But he is just relentless. He just does his job, play in and play out. A lot of times this goes unnoticed. Everybody sees someone get two or three sacks and they say he had a great game. But as a coach you say ‘Hold on, he was out of his gap two or three times.’ Tig just does his job, and teams don’t throw to his guy or run in his gap. He is unsung because he doesn’t get all of the accolades. But, football IQ is a big thing.”

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