Sting of loss motivates McDaniel

The sting of last December's 39-34 ACC Championship loss to Georgia Tech is still fresh on the mind of all-conference safety DeAndre McDaniel.

Clemson allowed Georgia Tech to amass an ACC Championship game record 469 total yards of total offense (333 rushing, 136 passing) in Tampa Bay's Raymond James Stadium.

Almost eight months later, it's nothing but motivation for McDaniel and the rest of the Tigers, who open the season against North Texas on Sept. 4.

"We're using it a lot," McDaniel said of the loss at the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff. "We're real hungry about that. After taking that loss in the ACC Championship, it was a real close game.

"Especially on defense, we kind of felt like we should have held them. We felt like we kind of let the team down so that makes us even hungrier on defense. We felt like we shouldn't be giving anything up like that on defense, especially in the fourth quarter, two minutes left.

"We shouldn't give up points after the offense brought us back."

McDaniel continues to have high expectations for the Tigers' defense as it heads into year two under coordinator Kevin Steele.

"We can be great. We can be great if we put our minds to it and we put that focus in—get that extra work in that we need to do. We can be unstoppable," McDaniel said.

McDaniel tied for second in the nation with eight interceptions as a junior in 2009. His 102 tackles were fourth-most on the team.

The sure-fire preseason Thorpe Award candidate doesn't care to speculate how many picks he'll have this season.

"I'm going to take it one game at a time and see what I can do," McDaniel said.

Heading into his senior year, McDaniel looks forward to leading the Tigers' defense, which ranked 20th in the country last season in total defense.

"My game just revolves around the team. I'm going to play off of how everybody else is playing. Of course, if we're playing down, I'm going to have to pick the team up because I'm the leader of that defense this year," he said. "We're not trying to have any down moments. If we are, I'm going to be that guy to pick us up.

"We're going to go all out. They're going to help me play to my full ability because I know everybody out there wants to make plays. Everybody on that defense is hungry this year. That's going to make me play even harder." Top Stories