Quarterback of the defense

Brandon Maye will be relied upon by defensive coordinator Kevin Steele to quarterback his first Tiger defense.

Adjusting to the defense Steele has in place had been difficult at times for Maye, who was named a Freshman All-American last year. But he's come to accept the responsibility and is now looking forward to showing Steele he's got the right man for the job during Saturday's opener against Middle Tennessee.

"It was a big adjustment," Maye said about his responsibility of being Steele's eyes and ears on defense. "I started praying more about it and putting all my trust in God. Things started to smooth out for me."

To help Maye begin to maximize his potential at Clemson, Steele spoke with him about controlling his emotions while his pads are strapped on and his chin strap is buckled. He shared with Maye mechanisms he uses to control his own emotions.

"Coach Steele pulled me to the side and he was telling me how big time emotions he has and how hot-headed he is," Maye said, "and he has to calm himself down sometimes.

"He said he'll look up to the sky and draw his strength from God and basically keep his emotions down."

Also to keep his emotions in check, Steele told Maye to think of someone very special to him-his mom.

The advice Steele related to his pupil has paid off.

"I've got things down pat with emotions. It's about being able to turn that switch on and off," Mayesaid.

Admittedly still learning Steele's scheme and philosophy, Maye trusts his game plan and is ready to take to the field in Death Valley with loads of confidence.

"I feel like I've got at least 95 percent for this game right here," Maye said. "By Wednesday I should have it all and basically know what Coach Steele wants to do."

Very well aware of the Blue Raiders' knack to hang with major conferences opponents, see Kentucky and even beat one, see Maryland, he's not overlooking Clemson's first test in 2009.

"These guys are the same guys that beat Maryland last year and we lost to Maryland," Maye said. "So they can come out and they're going to believe that they can come out and beat us. We've got to execute and make plays."

Not really sure what to expect and when to expect it, he does know Middle Tennessee going to be wide open when in possession of the ball.

"Tony Franklin is a very good coach... (he) likes to throw it around," Maye said.

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