Tuesdays with Kevin Steele

CLEMSON - Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele previews Saturday's big game against Boston College.


Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele finally gets to see some of his regular personnel groupings on the field this week when Boston College comes to Tigertown.

Seeing opposite ends of the offensive spectrum in Middle Tennessee and Georgia Tech, it now shifts somewhere in the middle, which is in the direction of a traditional, pro-style offense from Boston College—an offense that is somewhat similar to Clemson's.

"We get back to where the personnel groupings are pretty standard. They're going to have two tight ends and one back or one tight end and one back," Steele said. "They're 60-40 run, pass."

Whether comfort is the right way to describe how he feels about having the normal groups on the field, he believes the Boston College style of offense is easier to adjust to.

Two personnel from the front four, Brandon Thompson and Jarvis Jenkins have drawn high praise from Steele after the Georgia Tech game.

"It's hard to affect a ball game from a nose tackle position," Steele said. "But (Thompson) affected the ball game…Jarvis really made a lot of plays that were his plays and made a lot of plays that were not his plays."

Their hard work paid off in slowing down Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year Jonathan Dwyer.

Boston College features a pair of elusive running backs that have no trouble making would be tacklers miss. Montel Harris is a shifty, 6-1, 200 pounds while Josh Haden is a smallish 5-8, 181 pounds.

"They're small guys but they are hard to tackle," Steele said. "There is a lot of yardage gained after first contact."

Missed tackles really chap his hide. Steele points out that there are too many from his defense. A catch-22 of sorts, creating turnovers has been stressed by coaches "in a huge way."

Many of those missed tackles have come as a result of trying to strip the ball carrier. A little bit overzealousness, he said.

At the same time, Steele saw plenty on Saturday when he was watching several different games. It's a problem early in the season for everyone across the country.

The Eagles feature a two quarterback system of Justin Tuggle and Dave Shinskie. One's skill set isn't much different from the other. Steele isn't one for assessing the talents as quarterbacks though he doesn't believe they're along the lines of Middle Tennessee's Dwight Dasher and Georgia Tech's Josh Nesbitt.

Steele wonders if the playing calling may have been toned down because of the two freshman quarterbacks. He believes the play calling Boston College's two wins over Northeastern and Kent State was about as vanilla as it gets.

"There is more in their portfolio than Gary (Tranquill) has shown. It was pretty basic," Steele said. "I think they were trying to establish themselves physically and take care of the ball."

The right-side of the Boston College offensive line averages 323 pounds, from center to left tackle the heaviest is 295. It's a zone blocking scheme that Steele refers to as seam running. The seam is wherever the running back sees daylight.

"It's the zone pulling. They're not actually power pulling," Steele said. "They keep their shoulder square to the end zone, pull, keep their face and collect people."

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