Spiller says Tigers need killer instinct

CLEMSON - When considering that Clemson has been ahead during the fourth quarter in two of the three losses this year, Coach Dabo Swinney said it's up to him to teach the Tigers how to win. C.J. Spiller offers a different explanation.

CUTigersTV: C.J. Spiller

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He believes Clemson's offense has lacked a killer instinct during fourth quarters this year.

"That mentality," he said, "is nothing I can go and give a guy. The guys have to find that within themselves—that killer instinct to go out and finish a game."

Spiller credits the defense to playing well in fourth quarters.

"We've had games won in the fourth quarter. The defense was playing great and the offense just kind of let it slip away," he said.

Of course, it doesn't help that the Tigers haven't scored a fourth quarter touchdown all year.

"If we had fourth quarter success, we'd be undefeated right now," Spiller said.

He likes to think that last week's bye week will give 2-3 (1-2 in ACC) Clemson an advantage in preparation since Wake Forest—4-2 (2-1 in ACC)—is coming off a 42-32 win last week at Maryland.

"Hopefully, guys had a chance to go home and focus on the first part of the season and realize what's at stake now," he said. "Hopefully, those changes will come this week."

When looking at the Demon Deacon defense, Spiller doesn't see much drop off since the departures of Aaron Curry and Alphonso Smith to the NFL.

Spiller called the Wake Forest defensive line "wonderful". He realizes that on occasion, he'll need to stick around in the backfield and help pass block.

"All the great players, that's what they do," Swinney said. "They try to carry their team."

With the ball in his hands, Spiller admits yards could be at a premium because of a strong Demon Deacon defense.

"The two inside guys get off the ball really well. The linebackers flow and I want to say the secondary is the strength of their defense," he said.

"They do a good job of gang tackling. They play gap sound so they don't really give up too many big plays."

In three career games against Wake Forest, Spiller has rushed 168 yards on just 19 carries, scored a touchdown and returned a kickoff for touchdown. He didn't play in the second half of last year's 12-7 loss in Winston Salem.

Swinney said Spiller's teammates are inspired by his play but he's encouraging Spiller to be more of a vocal leader.

"That's something we visited on this week…really maybe be a little more forceful with his encouragement from time to time," Swinney said. "That's something that we need."

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