Anthony feels defense improving

CUTigers talks with MIKE LB Stephone Anthony as the Tigers gear up for No. 4 Florida State.

What type of challenges does Florida State present you?
Anthony: They present a great challenge. It's one of those games whoever is the most physical, is going to win that ball game.

Watching film of these past few weeks, where do you feel like this team needs to improve to be successful Saturday night?
Anthony: It starts with the run defense and then goes from there. If we can stop the run, then we can make some things happen.

Do you feel like you guys have made some progress in stopping the run from week one until now?
Anthony: I guess you could say that, we've been growing every week and cutting down mental errors.

What's the hardest part about gap responsibility as a middle linebacker?
Anthony: Just being able to find the gap, because sometimes you have your guys up front that fall in the gap. You have to feed off them and play football.

What's the biggest difference in Florida State's run game? Is it having Chris Thompson back and healthy?
Anthony: Oh yeah, Chris Thompson is a great player, that boy can run. He is going to present a great challenge for us. Our job is to get our game plan down and focus on what we have to do.


Stephone Anthony leads Clemson with 27 tackles in three games. (Roy Philpott)
Is your job is a lot different under this scheme than what it was last year?
Anthony: I wouldn't say so. I fell like playing linebacker is playing linebacker. No matter what the scheme is, you have to play physical, you have to play nasty, and you have to play downhill.

How much fun was it having Tony Steward playing linebacker alongside you last week?
Anthony: I enjoyed it. I said that me and Tony were going to get our chance together, and we enjoy each other. We are good friends and he is a real good ball player.

How do you defend E.J. Manuel?
Anthony: You have to keep him in the pocket, first of all. Make him use his arms and not his legs.

You played in big-time environments last year, but what type of challenge is it going into Florida State and leading the team as middle linebacker?
Anthony: I'm sure the crowd is going to be live and is going to be a great place to play, but we are going to focus on us. If we handle us, we'll be alright.

Is Tony Steward still feeling around where he's supposed to be on a number of plays?
Anthony: I just tell Tony, when he gets a chance make the best of it. As you can see, last Saturday he did a pretty good job. He's going to come along pretty well.

Did you get a lot or any attention from Florida State in the recruiting process?
Anthony: I got some attention early in the recruiting process, but once I made my decision they backed off.

Does it surprise you that there aren't a lot of people outside of this campus that are really giving you guys a chance Saturday night?
Anthony: No, it doesn't surprise me at all. We knew we were going to be underdogs. We knew we weren't going to be favored to win this game since the season had started.

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