Thursday Clemson Football Notebook

CLEMSON - A notebook from last week's game versus Maryland and a look ahead to Saturday's meeting with Georgia Tech.

EASIER SAID THAN DONE: Defending the Georgia Tech option is fairly cut and dry. Defend the three options every play—quarterback, dive, pitch—and you've got it covered.

But it's not always that simple. It especially wasn't so last year when Paul Johnson's offense rolled up 300 yards rushing twice against Clemson.

"I really can't say there was something we could have done better. We had a game plan. We just got out-executed," said Andre Branch. "During that time, they were better than us."

He added that proper alignment and assignment are both must do's against the triple-option.

"That's difficult," Branch said. "Because you have a week of practice to know everything, and if you mess up one thing, it will be to the house."

The redshirt junior bandit end is confident Kevin Steele and company can clean up things up for Saturday's tilt.

"We have a great coaching staff. They put us in the right positions at the right time. I trust them, just like they trust us being out there," Branch said.

A win would bring Clemson to 2-2 in the ACC and keep the hope for a trip to Charlotte and the ACC Championship alive.

"We're trying to find our identity as a team, not a group. We just want to be champions. Whatever it takes, that's how it is," Branch said. "It takes the defensive line playing hard. The defensive backs, the offensive line—whatever it takes. We just want to win."

ANOTHER SPECIAL TEAMS THREAT: With a first quarter injury Marcus Gilchrist, and DeAndre Hopkins not dressed out on the sideline, Jaron Brown filled in at punt returner during last Saturday's 31-7 win over Maryland.

"It's fun getting an opportunity to return punts," Jaron Brown said, "so hopefully I'll get more action." (Roy Philpott)
Brown returned three punts for 52 yards, including a 41-yard return that setup a 1-yard touchdown run by Andre Ellington.

"It's fun getting an opportunity to return punts," Brown said, "so hopefully I'll get more action."

The redshirt sophomore wide receiver relishes the opportunity to make a play on special teams.

"I really don't to call too many fair catches. One of them, I could have called this past Saturday," Brown said.

FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME: Freshman cornerback Darius Robinson grabbed one of three fourth-quarter interceptions against Maryland.

"It felt good…I just stuck to my technique on that play," Robinson said. "I saw the quarterback scramble. He looked one way and tried to throw across his body. That's rule number one when you're a quarterback, never throw across your body. I saw him and just broke on him."

When coming off the field, Steele grabbed Robinson for quick congratulations.

"He just stays on me in practice. You can tell that our coaching staff is really trying to push us to be the best we can be," Robinson said.

Now that he's had a little bit of success, Robinson said he must continue to work hard at practice during the week.

"I've got to stay on my p's and q's. I can't let up. I just have to play the best that I can, because I never know when I'm going to go into the game," he said. Top Stories