Tuesdays with Kevin Steele

CLEMSON - Through four games this season, the Clemson defense has been average, at best. And Kevin Steele knows when to call a spade a spade.


Clemson ranks 85th nationally in total defense with an average of 385 yards allowed per game. The Tigers are 92nd against the run (181 yards) and 59th against the pass (204 yards).

"Right now, it's us against the world. Probably not a lot of people are buying tickets to watch us play right now," Steele said at the West End Zone on Tuesday. "Not many fans want to see any of us, which is understandable. Our job is to go out, perform, be successful and put up more points on the scoreboard than we allow them to score. We haven't done that in the last two weeks."

There's reason to remain optimistic.

"We've got a lot of talent and very energetic guys with a good motor and playing with toughness," Steele said.

His mindset after Saturday's loss to Miami isn't much different than it was after last season's overtime win on the road against the Hurricanes.

"We come back after the Miami game last year in which it's a game they rushed for more yards, they completed more passes for more yardage and we had more big plays in last year's game against us than this past one," Steele said. "Because the scoreboard was different, we didn't view the game any different, as coaches evaluate it.

"We were frustrated, upset, trying to figure out how to get the thing fixed and everybody else was happy."

It's the handful of back-breaking plays that have provided the greatest source of frustration.

"We've got a little Achilles heel. We're giving up big plays. We'll play 65 plays that are really good plays and then there will be five, six or seven plays in a game that are big plays," Steele said. "You're not going to play very many games where you don't have big plays."

Is it frustrating? You bet.

But there's no room for mass hysteria—at least on his end.

"When the rest of the world panics, that's when coaches and players knuckle down, go to work and get things corrected," Steele said. "Good teams do that. We all want to be undefeated and we're striving to be undefeated. It's frustrating as heck…we've got to live with it every minute of every day because it's what we do.

"It doesn't go away. You go to sleep thinking about it. You wake up thinking about it. You take a shower thinking about it. You do everything thinking about it."

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