Sunday Clemson Football Notebook

CLEMSON - Xavier Brewer understands the importance of having a short-term memory. It's a must-have in the makeup of a cornerback.

Remember, Cameron Newton completed a 35-yard pass to Darvin Adams on Auburn's first drive of the second half. But then a play later, Brewer grabbed an interception at the Clemson 1-yardline.

"Everybody gets beat. Even the greatest cornerbacks ever, they've all been beaten," Brewer said. "It's just something you've got to have a short-term memory about."

Just a few drives later, Brewer missed his second interception, which ended up becoming an Auburn reception.

"If I had that interception, it could have changed the momentum of the game," he said. "It's just the things you look back on. I'm disappointed, but will just learn from it."

Facing Miami's Jacory Harris this coming weekend in Death Valley, Brewer will once again be counted on to deliver more big plays.

LIFE ON THE ISLAND: Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele believes cornerback is the toughest position to play on that side of the ball. For starters, the mistakes are a lot easier to spot.

Byron Maxwell tried to jump a route with hopes of picking off Newton but got burned to the tune of 78-yard touchdown pass.

"It wasn't really the receiver that got me. It was the quarterback," Maxwell said. "That pump fake. I saw that…it was just me being aggressive."

Clemson's defensive backs aren't pleased with 204 yards a game opponents have averaged through three games.

"Nobody's panicking, but we know we've got to get this thing together," Maxwell said. "If the secondary plays well, the whole defense plays well."

HANDLING THE ADVERSITY: Chris Hairston is confident with Mason Cloy's move to the starting left guard spot in place of the injured David Smith.


"He's obviously got a lot of snaps, a lot experience. He's going to come in. There's no drop off and be ready to keep it rolling," Hairston said of Cloy. (Roy Philpott)
"He's obviously got a lot of snaps, a lot experience. He's going to come in. There's no drop off and be ready to keep it rolling," Hairston said of Cloy.

The days of experienced depth along the offensive line at Clemson have been few and far between.

"Having that gives you a lot of comfort. A guy like Mason, [I'm] real confident in. He's not going to come in [missed assignment], bust or anything that will be any type of drop off," Hairston said. "It'll really be something we have to plan to do, get Mason a couple of more reps at left guard since he reps, really all over the place."

Smith will miss this weekend's game versus Miami with a targeted return for North Carolina. But that's the absolute earliest he'll return from the ankle injury.

"We're always going to be around him and rally around him, make sure he's good," Hairston said.

TWO THROUGH THE AIR: Most of Jamie Harper's damage at Auburn came through the air. Kyle Parker hit Harper on an 8-yard shovel pass in the first quarter and again for 24 yards in the second quarter.

The second touchdown was a five-star play.

"When it came out of Kyle's hand, I knew it was out there and I had to go get it. I just laid out and made a spectacular play," Harper said.

"I felt like I was wide-open. I couldn't find Kyle. My first issue was, he's going to put it on me. When I couldn't see him, I knew he was going to lay it out there," Harper said. "When he laid it out there, it was far. I had to go get it. it just felt like I was playing centerfield again, making a diving catch."

For the season, Harper has 154 yards rushing on 31 carries to go along with five catches for 59 yards.

He's also scored three touchdowns.

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