It was another victorious effort for No. 1 Clemson Saturday as it defeated Virginia 41-23 Saturday night at Memorial stadium.
While the defense didn’t put together the performance they were looking for, the Tigers got it done through some strong individual performances, including one from sophomore cornerback Andrew Booth. Recording three solo tackles and two pass deflections, the young corner also came down with one of the best one-handed interceptions of the year.
“Coach (Brent Venables) put me and the defense in a good position,” said Booth. “I tried to pressure him, he was a big body so I tried to box him out and I just came down with the ball.”
For a young cornerback stepping into a starting position on one of the most well renowned defenses while being coached by arguably the best defensive coordinator in the country, there can be a lot of pressure. Making a play of the year caliber interception was big for the team going forward as it helped further build Booth’s confidence.
“Oh man, it helps a tremendous amount,” said Booth. “That’s just one thing I can use to keep my confidence up. It’s a battle that’s usually me versus me and for that battle that was a big confidence booster, I really needed that.”
With Booth having arguably the best performance of his young career, the defense as a whole left a lot to be desired with Saturday night’s performance. It seems as if execution is what was missing from the Clemson defense’s performance.
“Coach Venables had everything schemed to a tee, he had everything schemed great,” said the cornerback. “We left a lot of plays out there that I feel like we could have made but we didn’t. We’ll learn from it but we definitely left a lot of money out there.”
While the defense as a whole struggled, there were some bright spots in the secondary. Along with Booth, junior cornerback Derion Kendrick put together a solid performance as well on the other side of the field. The secondary shined from time to time throughout the night, but execution of certain coverages could have gone better.
“I think we played pretty well,” said Booth. “Like I said, I feel like we left a lot of money out there. Stuff that we work on every day, I just feel like there were a couple of coverages that we could have played better.”
After handling Virginia, Clemson will now move on to their next test, No. 8 ranked Miami. Taking on the Hurricanes on the Tigers home turf, the team has some time to perfect their craft for the upcoming college game day.
“We just have to perfect our scheme,” said Booth. “We need to practice their stuff all week. We’ll scheme to it and have certain plays set up for their tight ends. At the end of the day we’ll just have to go out there and play. Put some certain personnel on their tight ends.