Irish prepping for battle against Clemson

NOW: Irish prepping for battle against Clemson

SOUTH BEND, Ind – The offense preps for a top five defense in Death Valley with hopes that the defense will stay productive.

It’s obvious the defense has been the key contributor to the team’s success since the loss to Louisville – totaling seven interceptions and eight sacks against USC and Pitt.

“We're seeing the ball better. We're converting on our plays better. You know, meaning if we have the opportunity to take the ball away, we’re taking it away,” defensive coordinator Al Golden said.

Pitching in on the takeaways is freshman defensive back Christian Gray, who had quite the recap of his first interception in the win over Pitt.

“I hear Coach Mickens yelling, look up, look up, look up. I'm looking up, oh the ball in the air and so I just panicked like I was just trying to be an athlete and just went up with one hand in hand I was like oh shoot. Came down with the ball I just start hearing the crowd and then the whole team just surrounded me,” Gray said.

As long as the defense can stay hot, the challenge will be Clemson's fifth ranked defense – against Sam Hartman and the offense, in a hostile environment at Memorial Stadium.

“Played there twice. You know, I'm 0-5 against Clemson in my career. Not something I'm proud about or like to brag about right,” Hartman added.

To no surprise, the sixth year QB will use his 0-5 record against Clemson as motivation on Saturday.

“Anytime that you look back at the past, you want to be able to right it anytime you don't get a result you want. I'm sure and I know him well enough to know that's real for him,” offensive coordinator Gerad Parker said.

Unfortunately, he’ll have to get the job done without his leader in receiving yards – tight end Mitchell Evans who's out for the season with a torn ACL.

“Speaking on Mitch obviously, it was, you know, having an incredible year. You know, he was, just in all phases block you know, run game pass game, everything has his leadership, his ability, his dependability. You know, it's just tough. It's a tough loss, but you know, all the faith in the world for the guys coming up,” Hartman mentioned.

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