The swagger reclamation project

CLEMSON - Not many college students are willing to go on the record about what exactly they were doing on Saturday night.

The experience can make the most confident man uneasy.

Bashaud Breeland was the first Clemson player to step up to the plate and share his perspective of the 49-37 loss to Florida State during Monday's West End Zone interview session.

Part of a secondary got hit up for 380 yards by E.J. Manuel; Breeland had six tackles and a sack against the Seminoles.

"There were a lot of mistakes I made that could have done better, to help us win the game," Breeland said.

But he wants to keep what happened to the team in perspective.

"That was just the fourth game. It wasn't a championship loss or anything. We're really not going to beat ourselves up over that. It was just a game," Breeland said.

For him, there is one specific area of his game that needs some improvement.

"With me, it's my footwork. My feet were getting me in trouble a lot, putting me in bad positions. I need t0 work on that the most," he said.

Breeland added, "Technique is a big issue that we've got to work on, put our focus on a little more. I don't really think it's that bad, but it is an issue."

Part of the issue for players on that side of the ball is the transition into a new system. Saturday was just their fourth game with Brent Venables calling the shots on defense.

"It is a new defense and the first year running it, so it's kind of hard to really pick it up, how coach wants us to work," Breeland said. "It's only the fourth game, so it's a long season ahead of us."

What was the message from Venables to the players?

"He was just saying we fought hard and came up on the wrong end of the stick. He basically said he's taking this game, he is owning up for this loss, as far as we don't have to feel bad for it. It's his fault."

As of Monday morning, the loss still stung, and understandably so.

Breeland admitted that some of he and some of his mates on defense lost a little bit of their swagger on Saturday. There wasn't any point in the game when he walked off the field feeling good about how the Clemson defense was handling Manuel and company.

It takes a certain mindset to go about regaining the confidence that was lost in Doak Campbell Stadium.

"You've just got to work for it," Breeland said. "When we go against our scout team, we dominate.

"Just to get that confidence, you just [have to] talk to yourself -- nobody can catch a ball on you, nobody can do this, nobody can do that. It's just feeding yourself." Top Stories