Tuesdays with Kevin Steele

CLEMSON - Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has plenty of respect for Maryland offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.


The Terps' first-year coach has recently made stops at LSU [offensive coordinator, 2007-10], Oregon [offensive coordinator, 2005-06], BYU [head coach, 2001-04] and in the NFL [Chicago Bears' offensive coordinator, 1999-00].

"Obviously, he'll probably be the closest coach to a national championship ring on his finger, in the stadium," Steele said. "It's not too long ago he won one at LSU. He's a very, very good football coach."

Maryland ranks 51st nationally with 165.6 yards rushing per game and 84th in passing average with 211.2 yards. The Terrapin scoring offense is 91st with 22.8 points a game.

Crowton runs an up-tempo, multiple attack. According to Steele, preparation for the up-tempo aspect of Maryland's offense is not that concerning.

"There's so much no huddle, tempo and all that. It's kind of like haircuts. Once you wear it a while and it kind of comes in style," Steele said. "That's in style now, so it's not a factor."

C.J. Brown played in relief of starter Danny O'Brien against Georgia Tech last week.
Plus, he sees it all the time on the practice field.

"It's only a surprise when you're not prepared for it, don't know how to prepare for it or it is new. It's none of those," Steele said. "If it's any of them, it's failure to prepare for."

Exactly who Steele expects to see under center is murky.

Former ACC Rookie of the Year Danny O'Brien has started every game this season, but gave way to C.J. Brown after struggling last week against Georgia Tech.

O'Brien has completed 97 of 156 passes for 930 yards with four touchdowns and six interceptions.

Through the air, Brown is 10 of 24 for 92 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He's also second on the team with 153 rushing yards.

A starter won't be named until just before kickoff Saturday night.

"I said at the Florida State deal. You've got to be careful, because we've all seen backups come in and [say], 'Whoa, why wasn't he the starter?' Then we've seen backups come in and never leave -- Tom Brady," Steele said. "They're going to have a quarterback. I don't know who it's going to be. Just prepare."

Whoever it is, look for plenty of zone read plays.

"That's their No. 1 run, but most of the time the running back gets it," Steele said, referring to O'Brien's tendency when running the zone read play.

"O'Brien will pull it, but [Brown] pulls it more and has bigger plays."

"They've got talent. There's been a little bit of moving parts in the whole thing."

"They've got talent. There's been a little bit of moving parts in the whole thing," Steele said. "I think that's probably trying to find -- there's guys in and out of the lineup for different reasons. The receivers missed some games. The o-line has been fluctuating.

"Probably, the one constant is the running backs, 44 and 8. They've been there."

Davin Meggett [8] leads the team with 413 rushing yards. Justus Pickett [44] has 144 yards. Each has scored a touchdown.

The wide receivers, led by Kevin Dorsey, who has 28 receptions for 352 yards and two scores, have been a work in progress.

Quintin McCree and Ronnie Tyler have each missed two games. They have nine and 10 catches, respectively.

"Some of them have been in and out of the lineup. There are three of them that have the potential to come out of a game with a big game -- 7, 8, 9, 10 catches for 150," Steele said. "They're that kind of receivers. We better make sure that doesn't happen."

Nationally, Clemson is 72nd in run defense with a 160.33 yard average and is 50th in pass efficiency defense with a 124.03 rating. The Tigers' scoring defense average of 19.5 is 24th in the country.

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


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