Clemson linebacker Kendall Joseph led second-ranked Clemson with 12 tackles this past Saturday as the defense held Boston College to a season-low 238 yards in a 27-point victory.
The coaching staff seemed satisfied with the defense’s performance after Boston College but Joseph said there is still some work to be done.
Question: What did you learn about your guys?
Joseph: “They just know how to respond and respond to adversity. But, the outside expectations that everybody had that we were going to roll them out, we knew who BC was. They are a team who has a lot of pride and they are really physical and really tough.”
Question: Do you think this will help you down the road, winning the game solely in the fourth quarter?
Joseph: “I think it will. Coach (Brent Venables) told us after the game saying that we are at the point now that if we aren’t rolling people out, some people say that we just don’t know how to respond anymore. He was just saying we need to check ourselves because these teams are coming ready to fight. Even if it is 7-7, we need to appreciate the moment and just keep playing hard.”
Question: What did those two turnovers do to help you in the game? It seemed like they really helped the offense.
Joseph: “You know it always helps when you can win that turnover margin, especially when people are tired. That’s really big for our team.”
Question: How important is it to not play to the scoreboard but still play effectively?
Joseph: “It’s important. You can’t respond to the scoreboard. Coach (Dabo) Swinney always preaches that you can’t pay attention to the scoreboard at halftime. For us, we just try and stay focused and get the win.”
Question: You said last week the coaches felt like it was your worst game defensively. How would you say you guys played this week?
Joseph: “I think we played a lot more physical. We will definitely see it on the tape though. There will be plenty of minuses and plenty of errors. Coach Venables always coaches us hard. I think as a collective unit, being able to hold their running game to a low is important and they take pride in that.”
Question: As far as the 7 that BC did score, how much did you guys miss that shutout?
Joseph: “We want that shutout always. We had our eyes on it but we just didn’t get it this time. It comes with the territory.”
Question: How do you feel your own game has improved?
Joseph: “I think it has grown pretty well. For me, understanding the defense and having to know positions. I really need to grasp what is going on around me. I just want to be able to bring it hard to practice every week.”
Question: Does it turn up an extra notch when you are on the field versus at practice?
Joseph: “You try not to let it. You try to bring the same intensity going to practice. It can be hard going straight from school to practice but you have to turn up your intensity the whole time.”