Tuesdays with Vic

CLEMSON – It's that time again for everyone's favorite weekly installment of "Tuesday's With Vic" as Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning sits down to discuss a variety of topics and offer insight as only he can.

Here are some of his thoughts leading up to Saturday's game against Furman:

* The defense's performance Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe offered a lot of good things and bad things. While Koenning loved the way his players swarmed to the ball and were lighting up the Warhawks players with ferocious hits, he was troubled by the play of the freshmen, second teamers and third teamers.

"We have got to get those freshmen ready to play," he said. "And I was disappointed that when they got into the game, whether it was DeAndre McDaniel … those long runs, some of those were his plays. I was disappointed in the guys. I'm not singling out any of those players by any means.

"I was just disappointed that here were guys that we're going to have to count on and I was hoping that they'd come and they'd be fresh and they would energize and really do good. Sometimes you see that where young guys get in and because they're fresh and they're hungry, they get in there and fly around. … Yeah, those were (third string), but those are guys we're going to have to have."

* Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden has gone on the warpath of late and called out different units and players for their lack of stellar performances. Koenning said he understands why Bowden was upset at the defense Saturday, but assured the media that no one was more upset than he.

"There's no one harder on me," Koenning said. "Ya'll can say, do or write and there's not going to be anyone harder on me than me. That's just the way it is. Tommy can say or do whatever and it doesn't matter because I'm always going to be harder on me than anybody else can be … except for maybe my dad. He said, ‘There goes your stats.' And I said, ‘Well it's a good thing I'm not really worried about that.' A win is a win."

* One aspect that really has Koenning bothered is the fact that many of his players will sometimes ignore the play call and freelance on their own to try and make a big play. And when they don't succeed, usually the opposite happens and the offense gets a big gain.

One example he cited was Koenning had called for an inside stunt with defensive end Phillip Merling and Sam linebacker Tramaine Bille, meaning both players were to take one step toward the outside, then curl into the middle of the line.

However, when the ball was snapped and it looked as though the quarterback was going to pass, both players stayed to the outside and rushed to try and get a sack. The quarterback then handed the ball off for a draw play and because there wasn't anyone in the middle, it resulted in a big play and a first down to keep the drive alive.

"They're all wanting to make plays," Koenning said. "I know they know what to do, but they all want to make plays. It's just a mental discipline issue. There's nothing coaching, there's nothing motivating, it's just something that we've really got to continue to hold their feet to the fire to get them to understand.

"They want sacks. We did the same thing with South Carolina last year. All those guys were flying upfield with those draws. You know what? (Georgia defensive coordinator) Willie Martinez might be saying the same thing right now. It's a hard thing but we've just got to continue to work on it."

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