Brooks Concerned with Clemson's Run Game

NASHVILLE – Four times this year the Clemson football team has squared off against defenses ranked 100 or worse, and in each of those contests the Tigers have scored at least 51 points. Kentucky's defense is ranked 118.

"Are you trying to say we're in trouble?" Wildcats coach Rich Brooks asked when informed of those statistics.

The numbers would suggest yes.

Kentucky has given up an incredible amount of yardage this year, with many of those teams being less than good.

Amazingly enough, 10 times its opponents rolled up at least 383 yards, with seven of them going for more than 400, six going for at least 500 and two for more than 600.

To put things in perspective even more, Vanderbilt compiled 621 yards, Mississippi 514 yards, and something called Louisiana-Monroe went for 501 yards.

Incredibly, the Wildcats won those three games.

However, the difference this time is that Clemson can play defense and generally scores touchdowns when it's in the redzone and not field goals.

Brooks said the key to slowing down the Tigers begins and ends with the running game, which has been a major problem for Kentucky.

"We have to top them from breaking long runs," he said. "When we tackle, we've generally played pretty well. When we miss, we've been gashed. We're still a work in progress."

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said the defense employed by the Wildcats can be conducive for big runs.

Kentucky likes to bring everybody close to the line of scrimmage in a press-man coverage. If the tailback gets through the initial point of contact, he can be off to the races.

"If we can make one guy miss, we can get some long runs," Bowden said. "We did that against South Carolina."

Even though the numbers to back him up, Brooks said the defense has played better the last four or so games.

Nonetheless, he knows it's highly unlikely C.J. Spiller, James Davis and Reggie Merriweather will be held in check.

"It scares me to death," Brooks said. "We have not played a team that runs the ball as well Clemson. I don't think there's anybody in our league that runs the ball as well as Clemson except for Arkansas. And we didn't play Arkansas." Top Stories