Tuesdays with Kevin Steele

CLEMSON - Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele discusses his defense as Clemson prepares for N.C. State.


This week's preparation for N.C. State will be different than it was in years past for Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.

Redshirt sophomore junior quarterback Mike Glennon is a sharp contrast to three-year starter Russell Wilson, who's now under center at Wisconsin.

"With Wilson, there was a lot more threat of the run, the pull-down, the scramble -- a lot of yards because he didn't see what he liked -- quarterback draws, quarterback runs, those kinds of things," Steele said. "Outside of that, the offense is relatively the same."

On Saturday, the No. 7 Tigers will face a Wolfpack squad that's 100th in the country in total offense, 83rd in scoring, 64th in passing offense and 111th in rushing offense.

More of a traditional, drop-back passer, Glennon has completed 207 of 336 passes for 2,231 yards with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He's equitable in his distribution amongst receivers.

Wide receiver T.J. Graham and running back James Washington each have 31 receptions. Wide receivers Tobias Palmer and Jay Smith have caught 30 and 29 passes, respectively.

Most of the N.C. State production through the air comes on short to intermediate routes.

"They do have what we call Seattle routes, which is down the field, deep ball throw. They throw those. They sprinkle them in. They're not a huge Seattle team, but they take their shots," Steele said.

"There are a lot of shallow-cross -- what we call smash -- where No. 1 is going to sit-down and the inside receiver will run an in-cut or out-cut on top of that. They're a lot of that."

On the ground, Washington leads the team with 690 yards and six touchdowns.

"They run the stretch play, which is the outside zone, where they are just going to give it to [Washington] and pull people, get on the edge and run it," Steele said.

It's a go-to play, especially when the Wolfpack are up on the scoreboard.

"They ran it in the North Carolina game, which they won, and they ran it in the Virginia game, 17 and 15 time," Steele said. " In Florida State and another game, it was five and four times. When they get rolling and get ahead of you, you're going to see that play a lot."

KEEP IT COOL: The Clemson sideline remained cool, calm and collected, even while facing a 28-14 deficit to Wake Forest.

"There was a feeling of, OK, we've given up a punt return, two touchdowns off of turnovers. We'll get this thing done. Some way, we'll get it done. That was the mindset," Steele said.

According to him, that kind of mentality is not uncommon for a team that's seen as much success as Clemson has this season.

"In 9-1 teams, it's not very rare. In 3-8 teams, it's real rare. It's the whole body of work. That's what you're seeing take place," Steele said.

LEARNING ON THE FLY: Freshman linebacker Stephone Anthony continues to see a solid amount of playing time.

He played a season-high 31 snaps against Wake Forest on Saturday. So far this season, Anthony has 23 tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack over 123 snaps.

Not unlike most freshmen, it's been a bit of a bumpy ride.

"Stephone is still having some growing pains. He'll be the first to tell you that," Steele said. "But he's not going to learn standing over by us. That's a fine line you have to walk as a coach. Stand him over here and have everything go exactly perfect, he's not going to get any better.

"Or do you want to put him out there and know that there are going to be some things that we have to correct? There are going to be some things that are, maybe, costly."

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