CLEMSON — After the Clemson secondary was torched through the air — to the tune of 430 yards and three touchdowns — in Saturday’s 28-26 victory over Texas A&M, one would assume the Tigers would be humbled.
But that is not the case. In fact, the very secondary that was a liability in Saturday’s win is now challenging future teams to try to throw on them.
“We’re a secondary that’s hungry, who wants the ball in the air, who wants to get those opportunities to make a couple picks like me,” safety K’Von Wallace said. “I left at least three picks out there. Like I said, I love quarterbacks that throw the ball and I don’t want to sit there and just run, run, run all day. If any team feels like they can expose us with the deep ball, I feel like they should go ahead and try it.”
Obviously the sample size is very small for the Clemson secondary as the Aggies were only the Tigers’ second game, but through the first two games of the season the Tigers rank near the bottom in pass defense — allowing 238 yards per game, which ranks 88th in the nation.
Even though the Tigers rank near the bottom defensively, Wallace still believes that the one game was the anomaly and not the norm.
“(Texas A&M quarterback Kellan) Mond is a great quarterback,” Wallace said. “He was obviously the best quarterback we’ve seen so far. Him going out there and slinging the ball, throwing for 400 yards — something we didn’t plan on. But he’s a great quarterback. He made a couple plays. I missed a lot of opportunities myself and made him look even better. So a lot of opportunities left out there. But as long as we came out with the victory, it really doesn’t matter.”
The Tigers will look to get back on track this week, as they begin a two-week stretch of triple-option teams — Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech — which should prove beneficial, as neither of the two teams are known for throwing the ball.
But for the Tigers, the key will be getting back to executing at a high level — regardless of the competition.
"You still have to execute regardless of who you're playing,” head coach Dabo Swinney said. “You still have to read signals properly. We signal in practice every day. You still have to line up properly. You still have to put your eyes in the right places. You have a job to do. Just be consistent in doing your job. You still have a call, you still have assignments, alignments and things you need to be disciplined with. Those things never change.”
For Wallace and the rest of the Tiger defense, the goal this week is simple: learn from your mistakes and get better. They still believe they have the best defense in the country.
“It’s nothing that we can’t go back and correct and get better from,” Wallace said. “I’m glad that we had a game like that so we can get better, because for me to think that we have a great defense already and can get better is a scary sight to see.”