By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- Junior defensive end, Malliciah Goodman has become very familiar with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and their unique triple option offensive attack. Although the Tigers were unable to come away with a win in 2009 when they faced the Jackets during the regular season and during the ACC Championship game, they were successful against the attack in 2010. However, as I’ve said several times, 2011 is a new year for both teams. Clemson has yet to lose a game, sitting pretty at 8-0, and the Jackets have lost two tough games back to back against Virginia and Miami leading up to this Saturday’s matchup.
“I know Georgia Tech is a pretty good team,” Goodman said. “They pass a little more this season than they have in years past but we’ll prepare for them and be ready come Saturday.”
The Triple Option has always been a difficult offense for any defense to prepare for, especially the Tigers, who a few weeks ago against Maryland proved that they sometimes struggle against running quarterbacks.
“It’s always tough, but you have to do your job,” Goodman said. “You have to stay on your man at all times, because there’s a lot of movement in that offense.”
Although the Tigers faced off against the Wofford Terriers several weeks ago, Goodman believes that facing a similar offense to Georgia Tech’s during their season does help the Tigers in preparing for the Yellow Jackets.
“There was a big time difference between Wofford and Georgia Tech, but I’m sure we’re going to reflect back on how we prepared for Wofford and prepare for Georgia Tech in a similar way.” Goodman said.
Going up against an offense like Georgia Tech’s takes Clemson’s defense out of what it normally likes to do, especially the defensive ends like Goodman who thrive on hitting the quarterback.
“As a defensive end, I like to pass rush and get sacks and stuff like that,” Goodman said. “But we just have to prepare for it like any other week and not get bored doing our jobs. As a defensive end, you can’t take a play off, don’t lighten up and play every snap hard. You can’t get lazy just because you’re not making plays.”
Clemson sits at #6 in the nation, and #5 in the BCS polls, what would distract the Tigers from getting the job done and continuing their undefeated streak.
“What might distract us are people on the outside saying that Clemson’s going to lay an egg,” Goodman said. “We just have to stay within the family, believe in ourselves which is what we’ve been doing all year and take it one game at a time.”
Goodman has been on a few Clemson teams that have laid a few eggs, losing games that they weren’t supposed to. What’s different about this team?
“It’s a whole new year,” Goodman said. “You can tell in the way we play and practice. Everyone has a completely different demeanor this season.”
How does Goodman keep himself from not tuning into ESPN’s BCS Show every Sunday at 8:15 after his Tigers win?
“I don’t watch ESPN, not even a little bit,” Goodman said. “I don’t watch college games, I’m normally found watching the Discovery Channel because I get a little tired of football after a whole week of practicing and games. They don’t cover the BCS on the Discovery Channel yet so I’m safe.”
When fellow defensive end Kourtnei Brown scored two touchdowns for the Tigers on Saturday against the Tar Heels, Goodman was shocked.
“It was a shocker because Andre (Branch) and I were just talking on the sidelines about getting a pick in a game, and I told him I’d block for him if he did and then basically the next play Kourtnei did and we couldn’t believe it,” Goodman said. “We were excited for him, when it’s your time it’s your time.”
Goodman was on the team in 2009 when the Tigers traveled to Atlanta to face the Jackets and came back with a disappointing loss.
“It was really disappointing,” Goodman said. “A loss like that does hurt, but it was two years ago and we had to bounce back from it. It’s a new year and a new team.”