CLEMSON – The first meeting between the Clemson Tigers and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets saw the Jackets rack up 301 rushing yards on Kevin Steele’s Clemson defense.
However, take away Anthony Allen’s 82-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and the Jackets had 48 rushes for 219 yards, a 4.56 yards-per-rush average, while standout tailback Jonathan Dwyer was held to 3.7 yards per rush.
Steele was asked this week if having film from the first meeting helps for this go-around, and Steele said that having already played this season works for both the offense and defense.
"Well it helps them, too,” Steele said. “They've got the same film. Yes, in some ways it does. But in some ways it doesn't. There are some negatives and positives. They're just about equal."
Steele said on positive is that nothing has changed for the Jackets since the first meeting; in fact, nothing has really changed since the summer.
“We broke down ten games in the summer on them,” Steele said. “And then we've broken down this season on them. And it's the same. And if you go back and watch the Navy film [where Ga. Tech head coach Paul Johnson coached previously], it's still the same. The thing that Paul does a good job of is he calls the plays and he's just going to see how you're lining up and then he's going to attack. If you're giving them something, he'll find it pretty quick, and then you have to get that stopped. He stays kind of a step ahead a lot of the time in his play-calling.”
Steele said that while he was pleased with aspects of the way Clemson played in the first meeting, it really comes down to matching wits with Johnson as the game progresses.
"You can't put too much on the first game,” Steele said. “But you can't just cast it out either. He's calling on the looks that he's seeing. He sees so much. They say he watches film on fast forward… that he's just watching players, because the way you line up in a traditional game is not relative to him and what they're going to do."
Steele was asked if his players should be confident considering how well they played against the option offense in the second half of the September game, and Steele said that confidence only lasts as long as you continue to play well.
“We were executing very well,” Steele said. “I think that was a key to it. We played blocks well. We executed well.. If we get the same kind of execution, we can take a lot of confidence from it. If we don't execute, that confidence goes quickly."
Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas caught three huge passes against Clemson in the first meeting, and Steele was asked about leaving a defensive back in single coverage with Thomas, who has averaged over 25 yards per catch this season.
"If anyone wants to email any ways to double-cover him and also defend dive, quarterback pitch; actually, they probably wouldn't want to email it. They'd probably want to package it and sell it. You could make a whole lot of money and take the dive, quarterback pitch to the right and left and double-cover the guy out there, and still cover the wideout on the other side. Unless they're going to let us play with 12. Not having single coverage is pretty limited."