Monday with Vic

CLEMSON - Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning talks about Thursday's game against Wake Forest.

Considering Wake Forest leads the ACC in passing this year does that make it even more of a priority to get to Riley Skinner this week?
Koenning: Yeah. That's one of those MOTO things ... the master of the obvious deals. The guy can just be in rhythm. They get five out and he sits back there all day and he has time to throw the ball he's going to find somebody. So, sometimes though as we see a lot of times during practice and in games, when they get five out and have the short passing game, sometimes covering a guy, which we did last year makes him kind of scramble. They are different. The routes they were making a living on last year they run, occasionally, but it's not their main stuff this year. They've changed.

Why is he so good?
Koenning: It goes back to having a winning attitude or a winning smartness or winning toughness that not everybody has. We are searching for it as hard as we can. Not just at the quarterback position but at any position.

What was your focus during the off-week?
Koenning: We still have a long way to go in a lot of areas. We spent the time trying to improve our tackling. We've hit that as hard as we have all season. On the reverse against Maryland, we had like six guys loafing. Couple of the big guys probably weren't going to be a factor when he cut back but when he cut back, we had a couple of key players going. So, it changed from a 15-yard play to a 70-yard play. So, again, we addressed that. Again, we have so many little fires we are trying to put out. We are just trying to get better at the things we aren't doing a good job at.

Have you made any personnel moves?
Koenning: Yeah we've shuffled some guys back and forth- secondary wise. Front-wise. Just trying to get some different combinations and get some different looks. Safety and corner. A few positions.

Some names?
Koenning: No. There are no secrets. It isn't relative and not worth ... nothing that is going to change any outcome of the game.

Did you see what you can get what you could get done with a healthy Ricky Sapp in the game against Maryland?
Koenning: Well, at times. At times he can be an effective player. He can be one of our better players and it's good to have one of your better players playing. It's been kind of tough not having him and Rashaad [Jackson]. Our safeties have been dinged up having to play most of the snaps of the games with special teams stuff. It's good to have your better players. We played N.C. State without Brandon Maye and another game without Stanley Hunter. I think the offense would say the same thing. We are trying to get some our better players back healthy.

Is Rashaad [Jackson] capable?
Koenning: He's coming along. He's out there doing cardiovascular work right now. I don't know how many weeks out he is yet though. They've got a fixed time-table for that kind of injury. It's not this week. I don't know if it will be next week. Where's it after that I don't know.

You feeling better about the linebackers?
Koenning: They are getting better. They are getting better every day and a lot of positions are getting better every day. I think we can go back to the week after the Alabama game, and say we need to get better one day at a time. Yesterday it was lets try to have the best Sunday we can have. Today we need to get better on Monday. If we start looking ahead too far right now that would be a mistake. We just try to have to take it one day at a time and try to do the best we can. There is so much other mess going on that if you start thinking about it, worrying about it, it's just not healthy.

Wake Forest is near the bottom of the league in rushing ... is that because they've gotten away from the option game they used to run?
Koenning: Well, they run two or three a game where they run some triple [option]. But they are smart in the way they run it because when you run two or three a game it forces you to work out on it. They still have that stuff, with the divide-zone about every way known to man and the orbits and the three back offense and guys everywhere shifting all over the place offense. So you have to try to be sound. It really gives your defense a bunch of different looks. And they are doing it all now out of one personnel grouping. So they are in one personnel grouping the whole game.

Does it concern you that Wake Forest probably won't follow a sloppy performance against Navy with another one against you guys?
Koenning: Well they played really sharp I thought against Florida State. That was as physical a game as they played. They established the run, I thought, against Florida State. I don't know if the statistics bear that out but the fact is they were able to run the ball and had some big plays. We have to be equipped to ... you have to stop something. If you can't stop something than they can do either. We try to focus our attention on the things we feel we need to stop. And try to have a plan as we usually do, just in case we can't. If we aren't doing a good job with the other ... than lets go to this. That's always part of our game plan here. I think they have some good players and they have good coaches and they know what they're guys can do better than us.

Is this one of the harder teams to get to the quarterback to because of the quick throws and the rolling pocket with Skinner?
Koenning: Yes, you have to beat somebody. Occasionally you have to beat somebody. When they are throwing the ball in rhythm and they have hot routes and stuff ... nobody can scheme every play especially when they have 400 formations or whatever many they've got. Somebody has to beat somebody.

You mentioned after Alabama about having to build your guys back up. What about now after a loss like Maryland?
Koenning: I think the Maryland game went a long way in knocking them down some more. Obviously, to anybody that saw that game, we gave the game away. It was mistakes. It wasn't a lack of effort. There were some plays ... some game-changing plays that could have gone another way. A ball bouncing off a receiver who is blocking downfield and bounces back to their guy on third-and-9. How do you explain that? We had guys there, or if someone would have read their keys right, there's no rocket science. We are a little bit of an immature group still. We have to be more consistent. We can't just do it for two quarters or three quarters ... we have to do it for the whole game. Top Stories