Tuesdays with Kevin Steele

CLEMSON - After three straight weeks of preparing for non-traditional offenses, Kevin Steele can finally get back to the basics with No. 11 Florida State.


In week one, Clemson faced the four and five, spread 'em out wide, throw it all over the lot passing attack by Troy.

It was Wofford's multiple formation option offense a week later.

For week three, Clemson faced the no huddle, hurry-up system brought to Auburn by offensive guru Gus Malzahn.

"We were at three weeks of three dramatically different looking offenses," Steele said. "So you spend all your time adjusting...it's like writing your English paper for freshman English and you never learned how to read or write. You've got to learn your ABC's first. It's a hard way to learn.

"You take some of those younger guys and you bring them in, they're having to adjust to all this stuff, make all these adjustments in game one, two and three -- they haven't even lined up in base defense yet. That's a hard way to learn."

Clemson's defense is 110th in defending the run [224.67 yards/game], 46th against the pass [194.33 yards/game], 55th in pass efficiency [121.20 rating] and 97th in total defense [419 yards/game].

Before the season, the staff made a decision to give meaningful snaps to several younger players in the first two games of the season, at the expense of taking a statistical hit.

"We felt like we had to get those guys exposed and play them, because there's going to be a point in time this year when we need to play them, so we just said we're going to put them out there," Steele said. "Sometimes, there two, three and four at a time."

Regardless of the number of freshmen logging snaps, Steele was critical in assessing his group a quarter of the way through the regular season.

"We're not a very good defense. The reason we say that, it is what it is. We're not very good and here's why we're not very good," he said. "It doesn't mean we don't play 55 really good plays, but good defenses don't play 55 and seven plays don't play with their eyes, don't tackle well, don't take good pursuit angles. You can't sugar coat it."

But it's not all sour.

"We know what the issues are," Steele said. "The biggest difference is, we played three games [on] average 60 snaps a game. Out of that, probably 168 of those snaps are pretty strong football...we've got about 25 snaps of chunk plays.

"Some of it you can put your finger on it and say, young guy, they got us or bad call. Some of it is, we've got to play better with our eyes, play better technique, coach better, tackle better. Until we get that corrected, we're going to be very, very average."

To read more from Tuesday's interview with Steele, visit the CUTigers.com premium message board The Valley:


CUTigers.com Top Stories