CLEMSON — Tommy Bowden has called out his defensive line for not producing enough sacks.

Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning doesn't want to second-guess his boss, but he doesn't deem it a monumental problem given success in other areas.

"I guess that'd be like having a beautiful wife that fixes dinner for you all the time and she comes home and she treats you right," Koenning said. "And you've got great kids and they're making A's in school and they're great athletes. But dad-gum, your dog's ugly."

Roundabout point being: "I'm sure if you keep looking at all our lives, we can find something that isn't just perfect."

Clemson's 10 sacks rank last in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Bowden said Koenning will have to "gamble more" if the numbers don't improve.

The Tigers' defensive statistics are otherwise impressive. They're 10th nationally in total defense (289.7 ygp) and third in pass defense (146.7). Take away opponents' points that have come courtesy of special-teams breakdowns, and Clemson's scoring defense (20.3 ppg) improves substantially.

Koenning agrees the sacks need to increase, but he doesn't plan on blitzing more to get them.

"The first third down the other day, I brought the house," he said, referring to last week's 70-14 win over Central Michigan. "They threw a slant for 12 to 14 yards and it's first down. ... You've just got to pick and choose."

Upon further review

Last week, C.J. Spiller was offered a bit of advice from the guy who recruited him.

Clemson receivers coach Dabo Swinney suggested Spiller watch some clips of 2006, when he finished second in the voting for rookie of the year in the ACC.

So on Friday night at the team hotel, Spiller took a look and realized Swinney was onto something.

"I ran a lot harder and ran through more tackles," last season, Spiller said.

Having rushed for 204 yards and averaged just 3.3 yards per carry in the first three games, Spiller had 96 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries against Central Michigan.

Vocally challenged

The huddles have been a lot quieter this year without offensive linemen Nathan Bennett, Roman Fry and Dustin Fry. Bowden said this year's offensive line, which replaced four starters, is the quietest he's ever seen in 30 years as a coach.

"It's a lot different than Bennett and Fry and Dustin Fry and Roman," he said. "Those guys talked, chatted. Nathan, you'd breathe close to him and he fought you. He was in a fight every other day. ... It's a completely different personality and demeanor."


The Nov. 3 Duke game will not be televised by the Lincoln Financial Network, as reported Tuesday. The game is a strong candidate to be picked up by ESPN's "GamePlan" package, however.