Tuesdays with Kevin Steele

CLEMSON - Kevin Steele has the luxury of getting two weeks to prepare for this weekend's opponent, Wake Forest.


Steele and the No. 9-ranked Tigers used last week's open date to start game planning for the Demon Deacons.

"It was very productive. Last week, they were very focused and energized, very aware of the things we had to improve, defensively. They bought into that," he said. "I feel like we made progress in that area, just the little things."

Things were off to a positive start again on Monday, Clemson's first practice since last Thursday.

"They came back to work," Steele said. "The retention of what we put in for Wake Forest last week was good, very focused. I thought the leadership was good."

Week two of game preparation for Wake Forest should be very similar to week one, according to Steele.

"We're just repeating the scenario again. It's kind of like bowl practice," he said. "You go through a week, practice it, tweak it, practice it another week, tweak it, practice it another week. If you're playing in one of those good ones, you tweak it for about six weeks."

Clemson is a step closer to playing in one of the "good ones."

With a win on Saturday, the Tigers could lock up a spot in the ACC Championship on Dec. 3. A win there would give the school its first appearance in a BCS game.

First things first, take care of business against the Demon Deacons.

Under 11th year head coach Jim Grobe, Wake Forest is 32nd nationally in passing offense with 265.78 yards per game and 108th in rushing with 104.67 yards per game.

"They run the ball effectively. Although, statistically, when you look at it, they're down at the bottom, but they run it effectively," Steele said. "What they do really good, they do a good job of getting guys in space, getting them the ball -- a lot of uncontested throws where they're catching and running without contact on the catch."

The guy who gets the ball the most through the air is redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Givens, who leads all ACC pass catchers with 109.4 yards per game. He's second with 6.4 catches per game.

"He's their Sammy Watkins, if you will. He's a big-play threat," Steele said.

The former high school running back typically gets the ball in space.

"A lot of screens, a lot of shallow crosses, some concepts of mesh route where it's double shallow cross and some singular where they clear out," Steele said.

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