Tuesdays with Kevin Steele

CLEMSON - Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is thoroughly pissed off.

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Clemson defenders missed a total of 16 tackles, which resulted in 145 additional yards for Wofford in last Saturday's 35-27 win.

"I'm old enough to know and old school enough to know, OK, we do it a certain way and it doesn't work," he said, "I know the old way works."

Back when he was a linebacker at Tennessee, Steele had to learn the hard way when he missed a tackle.

At the West End Zone on Tuesday, he recalled one spring practice when legendary Volunteer head coach Johnny Majors jumped all over him missing a tackle on a screen pass.

"The next time I had an opportunity to make a tackle, I had a little more sense of urgency to apply the technique properly," Steele said. "I tackled offensive linemen for 38 tackles and the head coach sat on a dummy and watched me."

Those days are long gone.

"If I went out there today and hurt Rashard Hall, Andre Branch, Brandon Thompson and Quandon Christian doing live tackling drills and they couldn't play Saturday, we'd have an issue," he said.

Steele firmly declared that he can find a cure for the poor tackling bug.

"At the end of the day, no, I can't go play for them. No, I can't go make them. I can't make the tackle," he said. "But I can coach it and get it corrected. We can as a coaching staff, and we will."

There have been more concerning encounters during his coaching tenure.

"I had a lot of things where I've looked out there and said, 'Dadgum, how are we going to fix this?' But, you know what? It'd be like the chief mechanic in Detroit, Michigan at Ford Motor Company, you asking him, do you know how to change oil," Steele said. "You give him one of those computer questions on something that's going wrong underneath the hood with all that new computer stuff, he may need some technicians to help him. Changing oil, I bet he can get done."

The tackling issues, he added, are "kind of the base rudiments of coaching football."

"It's not a technique issue," Steele said. "It's not something we don't coach. We've got tackling drills every day. We work on it every day.

"It's just helping them get better at what they do and regain their confidence in their tackling."


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