CLEMSON, SC- Kevin Steele has told his defensive players several times that if they didn’t play disciplined then it will come back to bite them. Well it bit them Saturday against Maryland, it just didn’t maul them.
“What happened in a nutshell, it’s very easy to explain it’s not like we didn’t know what was happening,” Steele said. “You’ve got the two wide screens that were big plays, and basically what happened was the backside guy away from it, not the guy that had the tight end but there’s supposed to be a zone guy in the middle of the field 10 yards deep, so when he catches it he’s 8 yards from it. For whatever reason the guy carried #3 and ran with it and we had a safety on him, and this happened three times in the game.”
Although it took a while for the Tigers to figure out Maryland’s unique zone read technique, other than the 14 plays that were difficult for Steele to watch after the game, he believed his players were consistent.
“Our mistakes were simple things, the 7 scrambles were us being out of our rush lanes, and we took turns in being out of rush lanes,” Steele said. “You have to have discipline knowing that you’ve got a running quarterback. You can be a little loose and take chances when you don’t have a scrambling quarterback in your rush lane.”
The rush lanes were unbalanced five times, however all three of the sacks accumulated by the Tigers came when Maryland’s quarterback pulled the ball and attempted to scramble.
“On the seven times that we were out of our rush lanes, I only think one guy was a repeat offender,” Steele said. “It’s not an innovative concept it’s simple, don’t take chances or violate your rush lanes.”
The zone read ran by the Terrapins, according to Steele was not the typical zone read.
“They ran the traditional zone read and gained two yards on it, they ran the zone read and gave it numerous times and it wasn’t a problem,” Steele said. “They got into the second half and ran the midline zone read and it was a freakish deal that those five big plays came on six different guys. It’s not something we haven’t worked on, we worked it last week.”
Although he hates to say it, but besides the big plays given up by the Tigers, they played an average football game on defense.
“They ran 81 plays, 14 of them were sickening to watch on film, the rest of them were an average football game.” Steele said.
As for the play of his young defensive backs, Steele couldn’t be more pleased in the depth in his secondary.
Although he struggled with injuries during fall camp, Martin Jenkins has stepped up and has started to play a big role for the Tigers in the past few games.
“Martin Jenkins is a fast quick smart dependable guy,” Steele said “And now that he’s healthy you can see it, he’s just so quick.”
As for Darius Robinson, another young guy that was thrown into the fire early this season, Steele is pleased with the way he’s progressed.
“Darius Robinson is tough, hardnosed, competitive. He’s still working on his technique has good speed and football eyes so he’s definitely progressing. “