Tuesdays with Vic

CLEMSON - Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning sits down to preview this weekend's game against FSU. "They have a whole team of C.J. Spiller's down there now. It's going to be a great great test," he said.

Is it the same old same old this week with you still looking for improvement in your defense?
Koenning: I think since The Citadel game, we've probably played pretty solid. The big difference is we were able to make a couple of plays at the end and not let them drive down and score. I think we've been pretty solid for the last six or so games, seven games, I think we've only given up seven touchdowns. And that's them getting the ball on the seven or the 20. That's Wake Forest getting the ball down there I don't know how many times. I think we've been fairly solid. We had about 25 plays or so where I documented to the staff where we could have done better. That's been about par. We had 14 missed tackles. Which has been about par. I think our guys have been playing pretty hard for the better part of the year.

Were all of those missed tackles on Crane?
Koenning: Whew. We are last on the planet in sacks but we could have caught most everybody last week in our conference had we done a little better job tackling him. We'll work on it. I don't know what to say about that. I don't want to be critical of our guys because they are playing hard.

Was there more of an edge to your guys last weekend?
Koenning: I don't think so. I think they played ... everybody calls us 'what did y'all have on Maryland?' Everybody calls us, 'what did y'all have on Wake Forest? What did y'all have on N.C. State? I think our guys have been pretty consistent. You know, you just keep hoping they continue to stay playing at the level because usually during the season you have a few weeks where you have a hard time stopping somebody. We are going to be tested mightily this weekend but we are going to see what we can do.

Is it a different set of challenges facing FSU's offense this year compared to last year?
Koenning: I think the running back ... he's had some injuries to his elbow. But obviously it's another year in Jimbo's system. It's extremely extremely mobile. Last year we had them on the first game so we had practice time to get them ready for all the looks and screens and plays and this and that. Now that they are playing the athletic quarterbacks, they have incorporated a little bit of the AKA West Virginia, around here we call it the Big Daddy offense. They sit here and watch it with us and Coach West is calling out the plays ... 'well that's Rio.' Well then Big Daddy how do you stop it? 'Well I don't know.' (laughing) Obviously not many people have. It's pretty good stuff. That takes it to another level. And their quarterbacks are very very athletic. Obviously we've had a very hard time tackling quarterbacks ... you can say that all year. I think that's the position I see the most difference in. They are running 10 or 15 yards downfield cutting guys. They are playing much harder than they have in the past couple of years maybe. They are catching balls when they are thrown to them. They are a factor. They are very much a big part of their success. They have a whole team of C.J. Spiller's down there now. It's going to be a great great test.

What do you feel like makes Ponder so dangerous?
Koenning: Well, he's got a strong enough arm it appears. He can make every throw. They throw the speed-out, field corner post. There isn't a throw he can't make. If he gets in trouble, and he's been coached up pretty good, he uses his wheels. The team that contained him, played them early before a lot of guys came off suspension. There really hasn't been a team that has really contained him much. And their offensive line, early in the year, you could see they would make mistakes, and rightly so because they are playing a bunch of young guys. But they aren't making those mistakes the last couple of weeks. Probably since the Colorado game. Very very dangerous offense. The quarterbacks are getting comfortable and Jimbo is getting comfortable. He's obviously a very talented coach. It's going to be all we got to contain him.

Is it too much to expect more out of Rashaad Jackson?
Koenning: You know he got his ankle sprained in the second play he was in. Guy hasn't had much luck. He's limited even worse in practice. I don't know how much he's going to be able to do. He's trying hard. He's about having the same luck the rest of us are having as far as crazy stuff happening. He's trying as hard as he can to get healthy.

What has been the key to DeAndre McDaniel's emergence the last couple of weeks?
Koenning: Oh man. How badly have we needed to have production from that position. It was nice to have in the game there. I wish I knew. As coaches you like to find that motivational tool to get the light to come on. We are just hoping that he continues to progress because we desperately need production at that position. If we would practice with a sense of urgency that he has practiced with (lately) then he would have started the whole time. I haven't asked him what's changed, I just hope he continues to his progress. We are just trying to find some guys that will hit and that aren't scared and that will play. We are still searching. I know it sounds kind of crazy but still having to fight the 10 hour rule. When I call the 10 hour rule, it's 10 hours when you leave the office until you are back. We are still breaking that rule every day. By simply math that tells you you are in the office at least 14 hours a day. We are moving guys around to get our best players on the field.

CUTigers.com Top Stories