Eason Challenges Clemson Tigers’ Run Defense to Show More Heart

Eason Challenges Clemson Tigers’ Run Defense to Show More Heart

CLEMSON, S.C. — Nick Eason says he is not Jesus or the Wizard of Oz. He cannot make one of his defensive linemen become a great player. At some point, its up to the individual to decide – does he want to be good, or does he want to be great?

“At the end of the day, it comes down to how bad you want it more than your opponent,” Clemson’s run defense coordinator said. “It starts inside your heart. I am not the Wizard of Oz or Jesus, some things you have to be born with. But it is my job to make sure guys are ready.

“Whatever I did last week, I have to a better job this week. I just did not think our guys were consistently ready to go out there and play through four quarters and dominate like the expectations of our defensive line should be. I have to do a better job than that, it starts with me.”

Clemson’s defenders missed 24 tackles in the win over Florida State last Saturday, the most by a Clemson defense since the 2018 Texas A&M game. The end result, the Seminoles ran for 206 yards, the most allowed by the Tigers all year.

The Clemson defense came into the game leading the ACC in rushing defense, yielding just 2.2 yards per carry and 63.7 overall. However, the Tigers could not stop the ‘Noles. FSU averaged 6.1 yards per carry.

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“We have to get back to the basics, techniques and fundamentals,” Eason said. “We had over twenty missed tackles. We had missed fits on several runs. We just did not play really good Clemson football defense. We have to do a better job of getting back to the basics.”

The Tigers (7-0, 5-0 ACC) better do it fast. They host No. 14 Syracuse this Saturday, an Orange team that is averaging 188.5 yards per game on the ground and has arguably the best running back in the league in Sean Tucker.

Tucker is averaging 107.3 yards per game.

“They are playing some really good football,” Eason said. “This Syracuse team is one of the best I have seen. I have always followed them during my years as a pro and then obviously playing Clemson every year, they have given us problems.

“They are a really good football team. The quarterback he is does it all and can do it all. The running back is probably the best back we will see this year. He does a lot of good things. He has great vision, can break tackles and can run. They run him inside, outside and he can catch it out of the backfield. So, it is going to a huge challenge for us this week.”

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