Here are some of his thoughts leading up to Saturday's game against Boston College:
* When everyone thinks of Clemson football, generally the first people that pop to mind are James Davis, C.J. Spiller, Tommy Bowden and Cullen Harper. Very rarely does the name of a defensive player stick out. And that's one reason why Koenning believes the Tigers currently sport the nation's fifth-best defense. He thinks they play as a team and not as individual stars.
For all his ability, bandit Gaines Adams was often criticized privately for failing to buy into the team concept and doing things of his own free will. He would ignore the play call and just try to sack the quarterback, which would a lot of times leave a particular area on the defense exposed.
"It's always easier to motivate guys that have chips on their shoulder (for not getting any recognition), without a doubt," he said. "When they've got a big head, it's harder to try and tell them anything. I think that was some of the issues we had somewhat last year. We had a bunch of seniors that thought they had arrived.
"In some respects, this is an easier team to communicate with on a day-to-day basis. Now, you've got to understand that I was dealing with C.J. Gaddis everyday and that probably skewed my thoughts on that a little bit."
* Last year's outcome at Boston College still irks the players and coaches because it wasn't just the fact that the Tigers lost, but what was more troubling was how they lost. Koenning insists Michael Hamlin's interception, which was overturned by replay, was an interception. The reversal led to a Boston College touchdown late in the game. There was also a no-call on a clip on a kickoff return for an Eagles touchdown.
"It was 100 percent an interception," Koenning said. "It wasn't even close. Last year was a debacle where we fumbled, we get the interception taken away by the Boston replay guy, they don't call the clip on the kickoff return and all those things that everybody made light of after the game, but they all add up."
* Boston College's reputation has always been that the Eagles always have good and big offensive linemen. A lot of times they have them on the defensive side, too. But by and large, it's the ones in the trenches on the offensive side that usually have much success in the pros. This year doesn't appear to be much different.
"They've got one great tackle and they've got one freshman tackle, who is improving every week, similar to the guys down at Georgia, who seem to be getting better every week," Koenning said. "They've got good, solid guards that are good as a group. Obviously Boston College is known for fantastic offensive linemen. I'd like to have Clemson be known for great d-linemen, great linebackers and great (defensive backs), so where everybody that plays one of those three positions wants to come here.
"At Boston College, as offensive linemen, that's where you want to go. Penn State is linebackers and Tennessee used to be receivers, but I don't know if it still is. They've got some highly recruited, very sought after offensive linemen that can play."
* Despite the praise of the offensive line, the rushing game for Boston College is one of the worst in the country, ranking 100th out of 119 teams. That explains one reason by quarterback Matt Ryan throws so much. If the Eagles are to score, he has to throw it because they can't move the ball otherwise. Nonetheless, Koenning is gearing up to stop the run, despite the overwhelming success Boston College has throwing the ball.
"I'm scared to death, to be quite honest with you, that it will probably come back and blow up in my face, but we have got to stop the run first," Koenning said. "If they can run the ball, then you can't stop anything. So, we have got to work from that premise that we've got to stop the run first and then work on the other things that they do."
Tuesdays with Vic
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