In preparation for Middle Tennessee he said there's been a lot of drawing in the dirt to prepare for a Tony Franklin offense that could show several different concepts and reads at Clemson.
Franklin was offensive coordinator in 2000 when Kentucky had the nation's second best passing offense. In 2006, he led a Troy offense that had been at the bottom of the Sun Belt Conference into the league leader in passing. With eight days to get ready for Clemson in the 2007 Chick-fil-A Bowl, Auburn posted over 400 yards of total offense.
Steele said preparation can't be limited to the passing game.
"There's a zone read. What we call the orbit option where they get the wide receiver in and create the split back veer or sometimes wishbone concept with a pitch man," he said. "We have to look at all of it."
With not a lot of tape on it from Troy and a "two-headed monster" at Auburn in Joe Cox and Kodi Burns, that's where Steele said the Tigers defense has been drawing in the dirt and working on everything in preparation for Middle Tennessee.
With quarterback Dwight Dasher predominately lining up in the shotgun, an effective pass rush is that much more challenging with his ability to get rid of the ball quickly.
"When you line up a quarterback at six yards deep in the shotgun and you basically punt protect with the offensive line. They back straight up and kind of just get in your way," Steele said. "He's throwing the ball 10 or 11 yards deep from the line of scrimmage. That's a long way."
Sacking a quarterback four or five times a game that is a first down's distance behind the offensive line is difficult.
Bothering Dasher in other ways besides a pass rush will be key on Saturday.
"You affect him in the coverage, the protections. You've got five linemen up there and the running back, who they free release sometimes…if they turn one loose, you've got to get there," Steele said. "You have to have the right guys who are fast enough to get there. Fortunately enough, we have some guys that are pretty fast."
With as many as four and five wide receivers on the field at one time, he said there probably won't be much need for Kevin Alexander and Scotty Cooper at SAM linebacker, unless the Blue Raiders line up with a tight end in two back sets.
"At this point," Steele joked, "we'd pay them to do that."
The idea is to get as much speed and defensive backs on the field as possible, which will hopefully limit Middle Tennnessee's speedy wide receivers from making plays in space.
In short, it could turn out to be a defensive back's dream. But keep in mind Clemson's ultra-talented secondary will still have to prove itself as well- breaking in a new fulltime starter at free safety in Marcus Gilchrist.
"You get more of them on the field, so I'm sure they are pretty pleased," Steele added. "But we won't know if it's a dream or nightmare until we get finished.
"Hopefully it's a dream."