Tuesdays with Kevin Steele

CLEMSON - The hours have been long this week for Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.


With a chuckle this afternoon, Steele told the media that he passed himself going home from work while leaving for work this morning.

As he continues to do his part in ensuring the Tigers move to 4-3 this week, Steele knows he's got his work cut out for him before Saturday.

Preparing for the Miami Hurricanes' rushing attack that has three runners with over 200 yards this year, Steele called Mark Whipple's running game "NFL-oriented."

"It's traditional but multiple in formations. What they try to do is get you in the wrong gaps by not adjusting correctly," Steele said.

But that's not his biggest concern. That's the "chunk" plays that Miami can pick up each time the ball is put into the air by Jacory Harris. The three top Hurricane wide receivers average at least 14 yards per reception.

"They get big, chunk plays," Steele said. "We'll have to pick our plays when we pressure them."

The blitzes can't come too often, no matter who you're playing, Steele said—it's a live by the sword, die by the sword kind of situation. He'll have to pick and chose those times in the game when it's appropriate to bring pressure.

Like last week's 38-3 win over Wake Forest, the game plan will have a heavy focus on keeping Miami Harris pressured.

Steele respects the strength of the Miami offensive line and Harris' poise when in the facing a heavy blitz.

"He manages the game very well for a young guy," Steele said. "He doesn't allow his actions to beat his team. Then, when he gets into crucial situations, he has the calmness to make a play. That's what you have to do at that position."

A decent runner, according to Steele, he believes Harris is more of a "traditional, NFL-style" quarterback, though there are several plays in Whipple's playbook that have Harris throwing from a moving pocket.

"He's got a strong arm. He's accurate with it and he's got a quick release…he can throw it from about anywhere," Steele said.

It helps that Harris has several tall, rangy wide receivers to choose from. Of Miami's top four wide receivers, three are at least 6-3.

"They've got a lot of receivers that all look the same. They keep running them out there and they all look the same," Steele said.

He said height is factored into consideration along with several other things when game planning.

"It's not the first tall receiver Chris Chancellor has covered or Crezdon (Butler) has covered," Steele said. "It's not like it's something new."

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