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Dunn Says His Defense Doesn’t Blitz As Much As Opponents Think

Dec. 28, 1999

By ED SHEARER AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP) – Clemson is preparing for a night of blitzing from the Mississippi State defense when the teams meet in the Peach Bowl game Thursday night.

The man with the blitzing reputation, MSU defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn, wonders what all the fuss is about.

“I think it’s simple,” Dunn said Tuesday. “We really don’t blitz as much as everybody thinks. I may have a different definition of blitzing. Basically we move folks around and they come from different spots.”

Most opponents call what Dunn does blitzing.

“I don’t think I’ve seen the same blitz twice,” Clemson offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez said. “If we see it, we’ve got to be ready to adjust to it.”

Rodriguez figures whatever his team faces, there will be plenty of excitement in the Georgia Dome.

“Somebody’s band’s going to play a lot,” Rodriguez said. “There’s going to be some big plays, either by the offense or by the defense.”

Dunn has had a lot of success with his defense this year. The Bulldogs lead the nation in total defense, yielding only 222 yards per game. They also set the national pace in rushing defense, giving up just under 67 yards per game.

“To give up 222 yards per game in this day and age is pretty phenomenal,” Dunn said. “You’ve got to give them (his players) credit.”

Dunn isn’t concerned about Clemson’s penchant for running a no-huddle offense.

“We’ve played no-huddle people,” he said. “We always play five defensive backs. We’re not going to put a linebacker on a receiver. They can do what they want to as long as they only got 11 guys.”

Dunn calls the Tigers one of the best-coached offensive teams State has faced this year.

“They’re a lot better than 6-and-5,” Dunn said. “I hope the month layoff makes ’em a little ragged.”

Tommy Bowden took over as Clemson’s head coach this season, steering the Tigers to the winning record a year after they went 3-8. Dunn admired his multi-faceted offense.

“You cannot in a lifetime prepare for what they do,” he said. “They have a phonebook of plays. They’re very interesting on film to watch.”

Rodriguez says the preparation on the field has been done. “It’s more mental now that all the work is done,” he said. “I think our players are ready to play.”