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John Lovett Answers Your ‘Ask The Tigers’ Questions

John Lovett Answers Your ‘Ask The Tigers’ Questions

Feb. 7, 2002

Below are John Lovett’s answers to the selected questions that you submitted this past week to “Ask The Tigers”. would like to thank you for all of your questions submitted. We would also like to thank John for his time and sincere effort with “Ask The Tigers”.


Coach Lovett, First of all. Welcome to the greatest University on the face of the Earth! I personally am glad you choose to be at the helm of the Tiger D! Now my question. Can we expect a more aggressive defense this year, and what can you do to get the defense more turnovers?Jimmy Davis Piedmont, SC

I think that the nature of the defensive style that we’ll be playing will make the kids play more aggressively. We’ll be multiple up front and in coverage, which I think will create problems as far as forcing turnovers. We’ll practice causing turnovers in practice. The thing that makes turnovers is having a lot of guys get to the football. People fumble the ball if you have a lot of guys around. If you have guys breaking the ball when it’s thrown, then you have guys in the area if it is tipped, so guys recover an interception. – John Lovett

Coach Lovett, Clemson used to have a MEAN defense. Every team we played knew they were in for a war because we would knock you into next week. We have to get that back. Is this attitude with players or talent? How do you teach your teams to be hard-nosed and aggressive if this is an attitude problem. Many thanks. JD.James L. Daniel Simpsonville, SC

I think what you need to do is to practice aggressive. The tempo needs to be up. I think your temperment in practice and expectations of the players needs to be there. – John Lovett

Coach Lovett,After spring practice, you should have a feel for what you have to work with. When the freshmen report, will you hesitate to start a true freshman, if you feel he is the better player? It seems as though lately Clemson has lived on the notion of experience. Thanks & Good Luck!!!Landis Williams Piedmont, SC

There is a lot to be said for experience, however, we will play the best players here. We will talk about it as a staff, and if we determine that there is a young guy that is able to come in and significantly contribute as a freshman, then yes, we will play him as a freshman. – John Lovett

Coach Lovett,What things do you try to instill in your players that will help them in life as well as on the field. Jonathan Day Easley, SC

I teach them to compete and I teach them to face adversity. And when you face adversity, what are you going to do now? I think that the game of football is a great teacher because on one play there is a lot of highs or lows, which is why I say “what are you going to do now?”. It is the same thing week-to-week. When you experience success, you have to be able to handle success, and when you experience defeat, you need to be able to handle defeat. I think that when they leave the sports arena, they will have successes and highs and lows, and I think that they will be able to take what they have learned from college football and get out there and be able to deal with that a little bit better. It is very important to me for our players to be successful off the field. That is one of the indications of whether or not I can count on someone on the field. If I am chasing a guy around, or always looking for the guy, and he’s not on time, etc. that is going to tell me a lot about whether I can count on him. – John Lovett

Coach Lovett,How do you plan to improve the defensive backfield in this upcoming season?Chris Lawing Piedmont, SC

I think one of the things about the defensive backfield is that there are a lot of guys that have played. They have been in ball games, and that experience alone is going to make them better. We will be in a new system, however, we will employ similar coverages but we’ll also employ a variety of other change-up coverages, which I think will help them. I also think that the combination of giving them some things to change up and to just coach them again after they have been through it will make significant gains. – John Lovett

Coach Lovett, Welcome to the real Tiger Town! Do you think it will be an advantage for you opening the season against Georgia, considering you have already seen their offensive game plan when you were at Auburn? Greenville, SC Janet & Justin Moore

Yes and no. They have seen our defensive plan too, if it is similar. We’ll go back and look at what they did through last year as we did when we prepared for them at Auburn. We will have to match up our strengths and weaknesses with their strengths and weaknesses. They had about three of four games after we played them last year, so we will need to go through and see how much they changed. – John Lovett

Coach Lovett,Do you feel it is important to have interior defensive linemen in the 290-300 pound range?Rick Gettys Rock Hill, SC

I think it is important to have interior defensive linemen that are good players that can move, that don’t get knocked off the ball, that can establish the line of scrimmage. Weight is not an issue with me, it is being able to physically hold your own, dominate inside, whip single blocks, and create a new line of scrimmage. I don’t care if they are 290, 260, or whatever. Obviously because of the size of offensive linemen, you need to have some size to you, but it mainly depends on the athlete, the leverage, the speed and athletic ability of the athlete. All that can sometimes negate size and strength. – John Lovett

Coach Lovett,What about the upcoming season are you looking most forward to?Benji Greeson Abbeville, SC

I am looking forward to spring football. I’m ready to get out there with these kids and coach with these coaches and see how it all ties in. I am just looking forward to seeing where we are. Once I get that, I’ll know where we need to go from there. – John Lovett

Coach Lovett,Who are you looking to take a leadership role for the Tigers on defense?Wesley Lindner Clemson, SC

That is a good question. I am going to have to rely on the staff that is here to help me along with that. It is one of the things we have talked about. We’ve talked about moving guys around to different positions and we’ve talked about who needs to be the top players on the field. We haven’t really talked about who specifically is going to be the leaders. We start mat drills on Monday, so a lot of those guys will start to come out of the woodwork. – John Lovett

Go Tigers! John Lovett