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Checking in with Wake's defensive coordinator

10/9/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

I got a chance to catch up with Wake Forest defensive coordinator Brad Lambert, who said the Clemson team that showed up in the first half against Maryland is "the real Clemson."

"They've always played well against us," he said. "Their guys are really focused when they play us. They're really talented and they have a lot of home-run hitters with those guys. We've got to do a great job defensively of being in the right place and making sure we take care of our gaps and our responsibilities on defense and try to contain them, because they're extremely explosive."

The players Lambert said he is particularly concerned about are the same playmakers that worry just about every defensive coordinator in the league -- C.J. Spiller, Jacoby Ford and Aaron Kelly. In watching old game film, Lambert was reminded that Spiller was the one who took off for about 70 yards against the Deacs in 2006, but James Davis as a power runner is also a concern.

Tyler Grisham also caused problems for Wake Forest last year, which is all the more reason Lambert has stressed playing gap-sound defense this week. All it takes is one missed assignment, and any one of Clemson's speedy stars can go the distance.

"When you have the weapons they have, it can be a matter of time 'til they get out on you," Lambert said.

There is a certain familiarity between these two veteran teams, but there is also a tie between Lambert and Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning. They are both graduates of Kansas State. Lambert was a redshirt freshman when Koenning was a senior. They haven't talked this week, but usually catch up during the offseason.

We'll see which one gets the last word tonight.