After having the 91st ranked Pitt passing attack expose the secondary for over 300 yards and five touchdowns, defensive back Ryan Carter says his team has to regroup and get back to the basics.
Carter and the rest of the defense, which has been much stronger than anticipated this year, will have a chance to rebound this coming Saturday against a much improved 6-4 Wake Forest team.
Carter discusses Clemson’s playoff chances, learning from past mistakes and much more from Monday’s press conference.
Q: Ryan, this defense took it in the chin on Saturday. How do you guys respond to that?
Carter: “I think we just have to get into the film room and look over the things that we can correct. We definitely didn’t play our best football on Saturday as far as defense. I feel like there are definitely some things that are easy to correct. It’s going to take complete focus this week, just in the group and getting back to the basics. I just feel like if we lock in and focus on what we need to going forward we will be back where we need to be defensively.”
Q: Most coaches are copycats. Do you think you will see what Pitt did again?
Carter: “Yeah, if we can’t stop it why wouldn’t other teams try to do it? I feel like it’s definitely something that we might see in the future, but we just have to correct it because we couldn’t correct it on Saturday.”
Q: There are a lot of young guys on this team who hadn’t experienced losing in the regular season before. What have you seen these last couple of days from the younger guys that show you they can bounce back and be ok?
Carter: “Of course the younger guys are looking up to the older guys to see how they react and respond. Fortunately for us, a lot of us haven’t experienced a loss, especially at home. I feel like the older guys need to set the tone and let these younger guys know that we still have a lot of football left ahead of us, we still have a lot to compete and play for. Through the younger guys I have already seen their maturity and they know that it’s back to business on Monday.”
Q: Did it give you any confidence late Saturday when you see Washington get beaten and Michigan gets beaten and you guys essentially have your destiny in your hands?
Carter: “I’m not gonna lie, it was definitely good to see those two teams lose because it gives us reassurance that we still have a spot in the playoff. I feel like we don’t need to focus on the ACC or the playoff, we just need to focus on Wake Forest and what we need to do to get back on track.”
Q: How tough is it mentality when it’s third down and you get a stop but then you see a flag on the field?
Carter: “It’s really tough because we work so hard to get to third down and then unfortunately you’ve got to do another reset of downs. It was just tough when we were at that third down, at that stage trying to get off of the field. Again, when we get those penalties, we have to find a way some way or the other. I definitely felt that this past Saturday was tough because I felt like every third down there was a flag on the field.”
Q: Ben is one of those guys who is always going to play the game really hard and that resulted in a few of those flags this year. Dabo referred to them as a lot of judgment calls by the officials. Do you have to adjust in terms of how it looks to the officials?
Carter: “Yeah, especially with the pass interference. As far as when the game was going, I felt like I had to tell the DB’s that they were throwing flags and that we had to get our head around and find a way to not put our hand on them. We were getting flags for not getting our head around and stuff like that. I just feel like we have to find a way, when we do get those flags, to talk to each other and figure out why we are getting those flags. As far as some of them, I think they were judgment calls and they weren’t going our way at all.”