Blog Entry

DC Kevin Steele will not return to Clemson

Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:14 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 1:56 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson

Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will not return next season, the school announced on Thursday.

“I have had a great experience at Clemson and feel good about what we have accomplished the last three years,” said Steele in an official release. “But, there are some other coaching opportunities I wish to pursue at this time.

“It has been rewarding to see this program grow to the point of winning Clemson’s first ACC Championship in 20 years. I want to thank the coaches and players who worked so hard these last three years. Clemson is a special place and I wish the program and the players continued success.”

Steele has served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach since 2009, and is considered one of the ACC's better recruiters. But Clemson's defensive performance in 2011 was less than ideal, coming to a head in the record-breaking 70-33 Orange Bowl loss to West Virginia.

No defense in bowl history has allowed 70 points in a game, especially on a national stage like the Orange Bowl. As West Virginia rolled off touchdown after touchdown - including five second-quarter scores - Steele stood on the sideline as the center of attention for an angry and frustrated fan base.

The Tigers ranked 81st nationally in scoring defense (allowing 29.2 points per game), only better than Duke and Maryland in the ACC. This coming just one year after leading the conference in the same category, and with all-conference defensive linemen Brandon Thompson and Andre Branch in the lineup.

“Although we were inconsistent at times with a young defense this year, overall we have been one of the best defenses in the country the last three years under his direction, head coach Dabo Swinney said in a prepared statement.  "I thank him for his hard work and dedication to our program and wish him nothing but the best.”

Steele is considered one of the bright defensive minds in the game, serving as executive head coach and linebackers' coach for Bobby Bowden at Florida State and two season's on Nick Saban's Alabama staff before arriving at Clemson. But Steele's schemes did not seem to work with the Tigers' young personnel, and Clemson was repeatedly burned for big plays in 2011 because of breakdowns in the linebackers and secondary.

Follow Travis Sawchik's Tigers RapidReports for more on this story, including potential replacements for Dabo Swinney's staff.

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Since: Aug 6, 2008
Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:17 am

DC Kevin Steele will not return to Clemson

Good points, Smorgie, but the defense was porous all year; something was not right.  Tigs had too much talent on defense to be ranked 81st in the country.  I think Steele, decent fellow that he is, had to go.

Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: January 13, 2012 8:34 am

DC Kevin Steele will not return to Clemson

You are never as good or bad as your last game.  

Clemson's defense was not stellar this year but that is also the product of the offense they run.  A fast paced offense that possesses the ball less than 25 minutes a game means the defense is on the field for 35 minutes.  So if the offense does not get out in front forcing the opponent out of their gameplan (meaning they now have to pass exclusively) then the defense will get worn down.  In all of Clemson's losses they got behind early and quickly when the offense turned the ball over.  This means the defense is in no man's land.  

In Clemson's biggest wins, the offense protected the ball, got ahead, and forced the opponent into a single dimension (VPI comes to mind- built on balance not on passing).

In the Orange Bowl they came up against a team that could score just as quickly and that again put pressure on Clemson's defense.  Dabo has stated his guys were gassed and they looked it.  They were on the field most of the second quarter with no breaks at all thanks to Tahj Boyd's back to back 1 play turnover possessions. 

I guess it comes down to this, Dabo could not fire himself. 

Since: Feb 15, 2010
Posted on: January 13, 2012 5:03 am

DC Kevin Steele will not return to Clemson

That defensive coordinator had to go.  All four of the Clemson losses weren't even close, as the defense could not even stop mediocre offenses.  The only two games the defense played great were both of the VT games, but then again in the ACC you don't need much defense, so Clemson will be fine. 

Since: Oct 26, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2012 7:49 pm

DC Kevin Steele will not return to Clemson

I think Coach Steele is a Great Coach.He just got caught by WV on The Wrong Night.Remember WV put over 500 yards on LSU.Geno Smith,and Tavon Austin both are the Real Deal,and The Nation found Out.Good Luck Coach Steele.Go Mounties.

Since: Mar 22, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2012 5:29 pm

DC Kevin Steele will not return to Clemson

I hear Tennessee's looking.

Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2012 5:28 pm

DC Kevin Steele will not return to Clemson

ehhh don't be so hard on Steele.....wait......TOUCHDOWN WEST VIRGINIA!!!!

Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:17 pm

DC Kevin Steele will not return to Clemson

  Maybe now we know why he is no longer on Nick Sabens staff!!!!!

Since: Mar 15, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:07 pm

Hit the Road!

81st nationally in scoring defense??? Hello??? He'll have trouble getting another job after that coaching "performance."  Embarrassing.

Since: May 27, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2012 3:44 pm

DC Kevin Steele will not return to Clemson

this defense did not stop anyone all year long..that inlcludes Divsion 1AA Wofford who almost won the game..(35-28)..they outplayed and outcoached in every aspect of the game

Since: Dec 17, 2008
Posted on: January 12, 2012 3:07 pm

DC Kevin Steele will not return to Clemson

Maybe he should apply to UNC Charlotte.  After all they hired as their offensive coordinator Jeff Mullens who managed to score all of 7 points for WV with the same offensive players as this year against a mediocre NC State team in last years Champs Sports Bowl.

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