By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- For someone’s whose last interception came in his senior year of high school, Clemson linebacker Quandon Christian looked quite comfortable on Saturday when he picked off a pass thrown by Florida State quarterback Clint Trickett. Although the Tigers were not able to capitalize on the turnover, the interception not only deflated the Seminoles, but gave the Tigers extra motivation to finish off the game strong.
Although Clemson’s defense has continued to improve throughout the season, Christian believes that one area that needs improvement is learning to use their eyes.
“Tackling is something we work on in practice every week, it’s going to get better each week,” Christian said. “We need to learn to use our eyes better though; I think that’s one of the main keys, people not using their eyes.”
One of the negatives surrounding Clemson’s defense this season, is their inability to stop offenses from making big plays, which has kept their statistics as a defense towards the bottom of the barrel in the NCAA.
“Coming into the game, they’re going to have a couple of big plays,” Christian said. “You never know when that’s going to come, but it’s something we’re improving on.”
As for Virginia Tech, the Tigers next opponents, Christian has seen a lot from the reigning ACC Champions.
“They’ve got a big quarterback, a good running back, good solid team on offense,” Christian said. “I saw their running back a couple of games last year and he’s really fast.”
With a quarterback with the size and stature of last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, Christian realizes that tackling him is going to be even more of a challenge than in past weeks, but is up for the challenge.
“You just have to wrap up and tackle, get him down,” Christian said. “Or hold on for help.”
In the middle of last season, Christian emerged as a role player in Clemson’s defense and he credits his success from learning the play book.
“I didn’t know the play book very well at the beginning of last year that much,” Christian said. “Then at the end of the season it came along and I started learning the playbook a little bit more, started looking at other players and their techniques and stuff, I felt a whole lot more comfortable at the end of last season than I did coming into the season.”
Christian’s role now, as an outside linebacker is mainly being in pass coverage, covering a tight end or wide receiver, is according to him the perfect position for him.
“I like pass coverage,” Christian said. “I don’t like it as much as I like blitzing but interceptions are just like sacks to me.”
Christian’s favorite part of the game though and being a defensive player is getting to hit someone every chance he has.
“I love hitting,” Christian said. “I dream about it, I tell myself before the games, I’m going to kill someone when I go out there and it sticks in my head. I love the pain I get from hitting and the pain in their face from my hit.”