More pressing matters

CLEMSON - D.J. Reader will spend some of his Christmas break discussing with his parents whether or not he'll play baseball this spring.

But there are more pressing matters to tend to when he gets back, specifically, Ohio State's tandem of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde, which combined to rush for 2,441 yards and 24 touchdowns this season.

Reader discussed those two during a recent media obligation in Clemson.

What's the challenge like playing against Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde?
Reader: They're extremely talented. Braxton can run it. He can throw it. Carlos Hyde is a good back. He finds holes, has great vision down field. He can beat you up top, if you try to hit him up top, he can drive through you. If you hit him in the legs, he can pull away. So, I mean, they're a great combo. We've got to figure out a way to contain those two. They're a great tandem.

What they do, offensively, is that like anybody you've faced this year?
Reader: It's kind of like Boston College, but it's not the same personnel as Boston College. They run the ball a lot, a lot of powers, a lot of zones. [Hyde] also cuts it back. No back we've seen this year, he'll bend the play -- it's supposed to go outside -- all the way back to the other A-gap. They're just a good team.

How does Hyde compare to Andre Williams, the Boston College running back?
Reader: I think they're similar. Andre is a great back, I watched him this year. I thought he was really good. Carlos Hyde is also a great back. He didn't play some games, but he showed up in every game he played in and always performed well, so you can't take anything away from him. He's a great back.

How much do you guys as a group take when you look at what you've done to opposing running backs?
Reader: We take a lot of pride in that. We don't have a lot of finesse guys on our defensive line…we take a lot of pride in the run game. We feel like that's one of our biggest strengths. We take a lot of pride in it. We talk about it everyday. We accept it as a challenge every time somebody says they're just going to come out and run the ball on us.

What was the problem against South Carolina? You stopped Mike Davis, but Connor Shaw got out.
Reader: [Shaw] really just hurt us more on third-down. He did a good job of knowing the down and distance. He really didn't kill us, kill us, but he did a good job of knowing the down and distance, getting out with his legs, just making plays when they needed to be made.

Would it be fair to say that Miller is more of a run first, throw second guy?
Reader: I don't know. You just see so many great plays with his legs, but, watching film, you really learn of the great plays he makes with his arm. He's really a true quarterback that just happens to be freakishly athletic and can play.

Given what Shaw did against y'all, does it eat at you, because of the kind of pride that you take?
Reader: It ate at us a little bit. He had 94 yards, it wasn't over 100. They had 170 yards rushing total. It ate at us a little, but it didn't eat at us as bad as it could have. We just didn't make plays, sometimes, when they needed to be made. That's what really ate at us more, more so than him running the ball. It ate at us that we didn't step up in those third-down situations and fourth-down situations when we needed to.

CUTigers.com Top Stories