Tuesdays with Kevin Steele

CLEMSON - Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele previews the Boston College game.


Clemson held Boston College to just over 50 yards of total offense en route to the Tigers' 25-7 win in Death Valley last season.

Throw those numbers out the window. It's a totally different ballgame.

According to Steele, last season's game will have no bearing on Saturday's date in Chestnut Hill.

"If that was the case, we would have beat Miami, because we beat them last year," he said.

And Georgia Tech would have rushed for over 300 yards last Saturday and beaten Clemson for a fifth-straight time.

Believe it or not, Steele said the majority of his calls against Georgia Tech last weekend were the same from last season.

"About 60 percent of it was really what they had already seen" he said. "The other 40 percent were some things that they had maybe seen a couple of times that was used a lot more. Then, there was some other stuff—not if you look at it pre-snap."

The post-snap play was nearly mistake-free.

"It was kind of amazing to play a defensive package one time a year and to have six mental errors. Wow, that was impressive," Steele said. "Truth be known, they still had 245 yards rushing. For an option team, that's not off the chart, but it's still a lot."

Georgia Tech's third-down conversions in the first game last season and this past weekend's game were very similar. In the ACC Championship, the percentage was considerably higher in the Yellow Jackets' favor.

"Complacency can sometimes slow one down."

"It really came down to third-down," Steele said of Saturday's win.

The play on the line "factored a lot."

"It's pretty evident to anybody who knows anything about watching football, the first game the front was very active, very productive, caused a lot of havoc," he said. "The second game, it did not happen that way. And, this past week, it happened."

Jonathan Meeks made his first-career start in place of Rashard Hall after putting together a good body of work on the practice field. The sophomore from Rock Hill registered six tackles and two pass breakups in 41 snaps.

Both are listed as co-starters at free safety.

Steele likened the situation to what's played out at nose guard with Miguel Chavis and Brandon Thompson.

"It came along because Meeks kept stepping up his play. It's not anything Rashard did, any less," Steele said. "Meeks had just really grasped what was going on and improved. It got into what you want it, a competitive situation."

And he sees no wrong in a little competition.

Boston College running back Montel Harris currently leads the ACC in rushing. (Getty Images)
"Complacency can sometimes slow one down," Steele said.

The tall task this weekend is slowing down the ACC's leading rusher—junior running back Montel Harris, who's been a model of consistency since his arrival to Boston College.

"The total body of work for his career, he goes out every game and produces…he shows up on every tape you watch since he's been there," Steele said.

There are a few changes to the offensive system as a whole, but not many.

"They're a little more multiple," Steele said. "Of course, we played them in the third game last year. We're playing them in the seventh, eighth game this year, so we've got more multiples, in terms of formations, motions and shifts. A little bit different [in the passing game], in terms of their routes, where they're going with their reads. Not much difference in protection. Not much difference in their running game."

Freshman Chase Rettig is listed as the starting quarterback. In four games, he's 32 of 67 for 356 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions this season. One of the backups, sophomore Mike Marscovetra, has played in five games and completed 34 of 58 passes for 369 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Sophomore Dave Shinskie, who's no longer listed on the depth chart, is 42 of 86 for 618 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions over four games.

"They're all the same type quarterbacks," Steele said. "It's not like they're going from one runner to one guy who's a great rollout, spring guy. They're all pro-style quarterbacks."

He expects Brandon Maye, who practiced on Monday, to return from the calf injury that sidelined him in the Georgia Tech game.

An ACL injury to Daniel Andrews forced Steele to shift things around at linebacker. Justin Parker is now the backup at strong-side behind Quandon Christian.

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