It was a big weekend for second-ranked Clemson and linebacker Chad Smith as they put a beatdown on Florida State at Death Valley this past Saturday.
With a lot of the defense getting an opportunity to show what they’re capable of, one such person who reaped the benefits was fifth-year linebacker Chad Smith. With 23 different players recording tackles, Smith was also one of three different players to record an interception in the game. It was the first interception of his career.
“It was pretty special. Classic example of being in the right place at the right time,” he said. “If you could see the play all over again, you’d see that we were trying to get the call and we got it kind of late. Next thing you know I’m dropping back into coverage and if you watch the play, you’ll see how shocked I am that the ball is right there.”
Shocked or not, Smith and the Tigers were very active in the passing game with their three interceptions as a team, while limiting FSU to 150 yards through the air on 17-of-35 passes.
However, one of the most impressive parts of their performance was their ability to tackle in the open field. With a lot of teams having problems tackling on the second level against the Seminoles, the Tigers put an emphasis on making tackles when needed and expected.
“Tackling is extremely important in the second level. They had a ton of great athletes and wanted to get them into open space,” Smith said. “Tackling was very, very important especially in the open field, second level. We continue to harp on that throughout the season.”
Another player who took advantage of the opportunity they were presented was another linebacker, freshman Kane Patterson. Being one of the elder leaders of the group, Smith had nothing but great things to say about Patterson and his performance against Florida State.
“He’s done a hell of a job. Very mature player who is always ready to learn and eager to learn not just his position, but the entire defense and how it operates,” the graduate senior said. “He’s done a great job. He’s gotten his opportunity and he’s making the most of it.”
The Tigers will hope to make a statement Saturday as the Tigers travel to Louisville for an ACC Atlantic Division matchup against the high scoring Cardinals. They are averaging 37.3 points per game.
We are pleased to announce a new partnership with Fanatics. This is great news for Tiger fans as they have the officially licensed Clemson gear.
The Clemson Insider will get a portion of all sales so get ready for another championship season by ordering your Clemson gear today and help support TCI.