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 offers insight as only he can.
Here are some of his thoughts leading up to Saturday's game at Maryland:
* Koenning said that Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen is a master of having so many different schemes that in order for his defense to play well, that it has to focus in on one aspect of the offense and hope that can shut it down.
"It seems like more and more offenses are getting so multiple," he said. "I don't know if they're finding ways around that 20-hour (practice) rule, but it seems to be that so many of these offenses are running so many different plays and so many different formations.
"You've got to show your kids everything, obviously to be sound against everything. But you can create so much indecision in their minds by the amount of stuff that they do. You just try to be sound."
* Clemson is last in the ACC with just 10 sacks this season, and while Koenning said that's an area that obviously needs improvement, there could be a reason for the low number and he made it very clear that even with the low total, not all is lost.
"There's two ways of looking at it," he said. "You can look through the stat sheets and you can see that you're pretty good here and you're pretty good here and you're pretty good here. I guess that'd be like having a beautiful wife that fixes dinners for you all the time, and you come home and she treats you right, and you've got great kids and they're making As in school and they're great athletes, but dag-gum, you're dog's ugly.
"I'm sure if you keep looking in all our lives that you'll find something that isn't just perfect. We're going to see if we can't do a little bit better job. I know those guys are improved from the beginning of the season. There is a concern. … We need to do a better job. … There are a lot of things we can work on. We are way far from being where I think we can be."
* Even with the low sack numbers, Clemson is still 10th in the nation in total defense. The Tigers are still also very high nationally in pass defense. And all this comes with only two seniors on defense and a thin secondary.
"I'll tell ya, there are a lot worse places to be (than Clemson)," he said. "It's like that family with the beautiful wife that treats you right, doesn't spend any money, great kids, makes a lot of money and the dog's ugly. Well, maybe you go get the dog groomed or something. We're always trying to find a way to get a little better. We're trying to get better.
"And quite frankly, the defense got read the riot act by the head coach (against Central Michigan because of 20 loafs on the opening series). They see that it's not what we need to do. And while they were running pursuit drills (as punishment Monday night), the comment was made by somebody on the defense that we only gave up 14 points. My response was, if you want to make Cs you need to go somewhere else because that's not good enough."
* Last week, outside senior linebackers Tramaine Billie and Nick Watkins each skipped study hall and were suspended for the first quarter against Central Michigan as a result. As expected, Koenning was not too happy that the "leaders" of the defense would do such a thing.
"It's disappointing and I told them just about exactly that," he said. "That was almost my exact term that I was disappointed that everybody is working so hard to accomplish some goals (and they did this). There's the old saying, a leopard doesn't change his spots. We can continue to try to motivate them and coach them.
"But I think I've made it very public that this program does so many things to develop boys into men and go out into the community and the world just as much as any program I've ever been around. But I think those two guys continue to challenge that philosophy."
Tuesdays with Vic
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