By Trey McCurry.
Just days away from his second season as Clemson’s defensive coordinator and his 25th as a college coach, Kevin Steele sat down with the media to discuss North Texas.
Steele, as well as several defensive players this week, talked not about what the Mean Green might do, but what the Tiger defense does.
“That is something you can control. We have said before, it does not matter who you play, when you play, or the environment you play in, you line up, do your job, and dominate. If you do that, then you have a chance to be all you can be. That process of lining up and doing your job, that’s what we preach,” said Steele.
With Corico Hawkins aiming for the top-ranked rushing defense and Da’Quan Bowers wanting to be the top-ranked overall, Steele had a slightly different look at what he will look for as far as progress for the defense this season.
“Before the game…one play at a time. We’ll talk after the game and see how it measured up. Obviously there are some indicators. Rush per carry. Yards per attempt. Scoreboards at the end, that means something. That there is a pretty good indicator. We need to keep them out of the endzone. Red-zone defense,” said Steele.
Steele also echoed some of Coach Swinney’s comments on Lance Dunbar. Dunbar, a 5’9” 203 pound junior running back, had 1,378 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns last year as well as 300 yards receiving and two receiving touchdowns.
“He (Dunbar) is a very good player. He’s special. He is as good as anyone we will face,” said Steele.
With a new offensive coordinator for North Texas, Steele is not positive exactly sure how Dunbar will get the ball, but knows he will.
“We have no video evidence of what they are going to do. Are we getting South Florida’s offense or North Texas or a mix? They are a zone read team, so I am sure we will see some of that. The big thing with him is that he has really good vision to hit the hole, but when he hits the hole, he has the ability to go 70 or 80 on you. I mean when he hits it, he’s moving,” said Steele.
Steele wrapped up his media session talking about North Texas and how long he will watch film on them.
“I may finish up Friday night around 11. I’ll watch them (North Texas) some and some South Florida tape. Once the game plan is on paper, then you’re going through it playing blind calls. You sit there and you know down and distance and you’re in a room by yourself. There’s nothing on the screen that that says the personnel, you take that off. You just know the down and distance, personnel, and field position so you make your calls. There are little things that invariably pop up on Thursday night, like a call that you may not want to use in a situation and you keep looking for things all the way into the game,” said Steele.
For Steele and the rest of the defense, the quest for all their goals is just days away and everyone involved cannot wait to get out on the field.