Tuesdays with Vic

CLEMSON - CUTigers.com checks in with Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning to get his thoughts on Alabama and much more.

Are you surprised about how your comments made such an impact in the media during the last 12 hours?
Koenning: Obviously it's one of those life lessons you learn when people are joking and not joking. I thought I was pretty clear. I've got my own grass to cut and I guess I made a mistake by cutting a joke.

So Alabama players aren't driving around in Escalades?
Koenning: I don't know what they drive to be honest with you. That's somebody else's ... I don't know. That's none of my business. I've had occasions in the past when I knew another coach was doing something wrong and I communicated that with the coach. So I would never throw somebody under the bus like that. I thought I was so off the wall, and even went back to make sure those around knew I was joking. Thought I was pretty clear about that. I feel bad for the young man if any problems arise for them. Those are two good guys that I know and talk to. Matter of fact I talked to one of their high school coaches and he couldn't figure out why I'd say something like that and I said well I was joking around at the end of practice yesterday and it got taken the wrong way.

Any feedback from Alabama or from compliance here at Clemson?
Koenning: Not that I know of. Tim Bourret told me Terry Don Phillips got a call [from a media member] to make sure we are all on the same page. I tend to worry about my guys more and I tend to be close to the vest on that stuff. I worry about my stuff and my guys ... they are more important than everything else.

Alabama on offense- what concerns you?
Koenning: Well, you know in Terry Grant, they've got him listed as third on the depth chart right now. If you watch him on tape last year he was a very dynamic player. I couldn't be any more impressed with McElwain and the job he did at Fresno with how he used tight ends, running backs and how he got the ball to players in key situations. It's very unnerving. It's one of those that keeps you up at three in the morning with 'how are you going to stop this play, how are you going to stop that play?' Then you've got the unknown with how much is going to be his, how much is going to be Alabama and how much Coach Saban will be involved. Obviously they are going to have some input too. All of those things can create a lot of heartache.

Do you have a better sense of what they will do after preseason camp and practice reports, etc?
Koenning: Well, again, you don't know what they are going to do. You try to get bits and pieces off of Internet stuff or quotes in the paper. But we are going in to a lot more blind than the bowl game. I was pretty confident that Auburn was going to do was the stuff he did at Troy. We have to be extremely broad in our preparation which is really hard to do. Then you get so broad guys can't concentrate on what they need to concentrate on.

Does it help that you've had to go against a similar offense with Rob Spence during practice?
Koenning: I think the similarities being the use of tight ends and the number of screens possibly. There are some formations differences. Protections are somewhat different. The two-back running back that Alabama has employed over the years, I can't believe they'll go away from that and Fresno did it to. It's hard to practice those things against the scout team.

What do you think about their quarterback, John Parker Wilson?
Koenning: I know he's caught some flack, at least that's what I've heard but I see them scoring points on LSU defenses and Tennessee defenses. I think some of issues, if people had issues with him last year were protection issues. He reminds me of the Croyle kid they had before and I think he reminds me of Cullen [Harper].

Who will you line up the most against big Andre Smith, their big tackle?
Koenning: Well that's been a talk in our room - how do we fare with matchups. We do move guys around but it depends where the ball is on the field. I can't tell you because it depends on where the ball is at hash wise and what not.

Have you had any history with Coach Saban?
Koenning: Only played against him one time when we were at Troy and we played down there. Jimbo Fisher was the offensive coordinator. I don't know if I've ever even met the man. I listened to him talk at a national convention way back when. He got up and did the lecture but that was a number of years ago. He was a coordinator at Michigan State at the time.

Has this issue from last night been a distraction for you?
Koenning: 100 percent distraction. It's my mistake again for joking. My father-in-law says a lot of times, be good and do right and my dad has put that into my head that make sure you treat people the right way. That's not me to cast stones and have ill feelings towards that. It was my misjudgment in saying something in a joking manner that got taken and run with.

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