Eliminating the mistakes

CLEMSON - DeAndre McDaniel, one of the nation's premier defensive backs, grabbed his first interception of the season during last Saturday's 27-24 overtime loss to No. 15 Auburn.

The Thorpe Award candidate and first-team All-American ranked among the nation's best with eight interceptions as a junior in 2009.

McDaniel's first pick in 2010 was the product of film study while preparing for the Tigers' showdown.

"We were going over their wheel route all week," he said at the West End Zone on Tuesday. "I saw the wheel route coming and they had the post coming at me also. I saw the wheel route wide open, so I left the post wide open and went to the wheel."

But it was the disappointing third quarter that's stuck with McDaniel. Auburn scored three touchdowns to jump out to a 24-17 lead and shifted the momentum in less than 15 minutes.

"We've just got to stay focused and continue to do our job throughout the whole game," he said, "If we do that, we can be a great defense. We kind of just let up in that third quarter and gave up some big plays."

McDaniel added that those mistakes are correctable.

"Just a few big plays, a few technique things. They got us with a stutter and go," he said. "They were just launching it up, launching the ball up for grabs. They got a few big plays on us."

In the fourth quarter, Clemson rediscovered the formula that was so successful in the first half. The ACC Tigers forced overtime but were unable to walk away with the win.

No moral victories for McDaniel to hang his hat on, though.

"It was very disappointing. The best team doesn't always win," he said. "I feel like we should have won. We gave up too many big plays in the third quarter."

The bye this week comes at a good time. McDaniel, who sprained his right wrist, is one of several players that were nicked up at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

"I think it's a good time for us to get heeled up for Miami and get ready for ACC play," he said.

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