Tuesdays with Kevin Steele

CLEMSON - Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele discusses the loss at Georgia Tech, the bye week and next week's meeting with Wake Forest.


Only Georgia Tech has broken the 300-yard rushing mark against a Clemson defense coached by Kevin Steele.

The Yellow Jackets chalked up 301 yards against the Tigers in their first matchup in 2009. Nearly three months later in the ACC Championship, Georgia Tech went for 333.

This past Saturday's showdown at Bobby Dodd Stadium topped both as Georgia Tech rushed for 383 yards. Nine of the Yellow Jackets' 67 carries went for 20 yards or more.

"It was big plays," Steele said of his most recent encounter with Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson.

"They ran the same play that they had the 46 yarder on, they ran it eight more times in the game, and got two to three yards -- they got 46 yards on. Ran the quarterback draw for 50-something yards and they hit the post route, and they ran the same play that they ran for 46 yards, they ran it to the other side, and ran it for 21 yards.

"I mean, come on, I'm not a math major, but that's 20, 30, 40 yards on three runs. We didn't have that last year, and they rushed for in the 200's. We don't have that this year, they rush for in the 200's.

"The odd thing about it is, the longest run of the game was not an option or any form of the option. It was a quarterback draw."

Clemson now ranks No. 66 in the country in total defense with 385.22 yards per game allowed.

Against the run, the Tigers have allowed an average of 193.11 yards, which 93rd.

The pass efficiency defense is 43rd with a 122.37 rating.

The scoring defense ranks 57th [25.67 points per game].

"In a nutshell, we've got a lot of work to do. We are an average, average defense," Steele said. "The bad thing about it is, you can take a huge percentage of our plays and we're very effective. We've created turnovers, we've created a lot of things that have led to points. But we still have the ability, in a very inopportune time, to give up big plays."

He hopes big plays will be at a premium when Clemson is back in action on Nov. 12 against Wake Forest.

The Demon Deacons are led by quarterback Tanner Price, who's fifth in the ACC with a 141.1 pass efficiency rating. He's completed 152 of 249 throws for 1,967 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Price's favorite receiver, Chris Givens, is one of the top performers in the conference. Givens leads the ACC with 116 yards per game and is second with 6.5 catches. All total, he has 52 receptions for 928 yards and eight touchdowns.

Josh Harris leads all Demon Deacon ball carriers with 94 carries for 421 yards and two touchdowns.

Wake Forest [5-3, 4-2 ACC] is going about things a little differently in 2011.

"When we played them last year, we saw a lot of different things -- reverses, reverse passes, a lot of stuff, a lot of abstract formations," Steele said. The quarterback is playing very well. The running backs are playing very effectively.

"They're pretty traditional right now in what they're doing. In regular offense, three-wide offense, with a little bit of four-wide. Nakeds, boots, sprint-outs, normal one-back runs and the normal two-back runs."

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