After Clemson gave up 417 total yards to Virginia, linebacker James Skalski knows the Tigers have to play better on defense with No. 7 Miami coming to town on Saturday.
The Hurricanes (3-0, 2-0 ACC) lead the ACC in total (499.0 yds) and scoring (43.3 pts.) offense per game. Skalski spoke to the media on Monday to preview Saturday’s 7:30 p.m., kickoff, which will be televised on ABC.
Skalski on the defense’s performance against Virginia
“I think for 80 percent of the game we played pretty lights out. But there are plays here and there we didn’t execute as well as we should have. I think you need to give Virginia a lot of credit. They are a very good team. I think people underestimate them to be honest with you. I think they’re getting better and better every year. They returned eighteen starters. They are a good team who created a lot of problems for us. They were good at creating one-on-one scenarios, especially defensively for us.”
Skalski on space-tackling against Virginia
“Yeah, I think if you look at some of the times we got beat one-on-one, we’re in position. We just have to make the play. We were prepared and really, we knew what they were trying to do. Every time we got in the game, they presented it a different way. They have little kinks stuff they do differently. I thought we played well, I really did. I think that was a great third game for us as a defense. I think we could only get better from this past Saturday.”
Skalski on what stands out to him when watching Miami
“They go fast. They have athletes everywhere they make big explosive plays. It’s a game changer. They have guys that can take it all the way at any time. We have to be locked in and be ready for anything.”
Skalski on getting to play a top 10 team early in the season
“We take every game like it’s the same. We understand what’s at stake. We understand the situations and the rankings. How this affects the season and everything. It really is a one-game season every week. We do feel like it’s a playoff game every week with the structure of the conference and just this year. I’m very excited for this challenge. I think the whole team is, too. Miami’s a great team, it will be a fun one on Saturday.”
Skalski on creating an identity of Clemson’s defense
“I think we’re still figuring it out. I think there’s a lot of potential and last week helped us. As we move forward it will become more clear. We’re still figuring things out, figuring out combinations what works best for us. I think we’re still figuring it out.”