Facing the option

CLEMSON - Hate might be a strong word. But, like just about any other defensive linemen, Corey Crawford has a strong distaste for cut blocks.

When Georgia Tech rolls into town on Saturday, there he'll see plenty of them.

"That's the worst thing ever. I don't know -- it's just nagging. I dislike it. Words can't really describe how bad I dislike getting cut," Crawford said. "You've just got to play the technique that coach [Marion] Hobby is going to teach us how to do, most of the time he puts us in position to where we can defeat that block.

"We've just got to go in there and do what he asks us -- tells us to do."

So, how exactly does one go about defeating a cut block?

"You've got to use your hands, just try to push them down, push their head down before they can get to you," Crawford said. "They aim for your knee, so you've got to be quick enough before they can get to your knee with your hands."

He added, "It's real big to use your hands."

Even if a blocker is unable to execute a successful cut the simple act of evading the block can, at times, turn a would-be tackler into a spectator.

Crawford said playing the proper technique will allow a defender maintain gap integrity.

"They teach you to donkey kick, you know how a donkey kicks. You get your legs back and to get back square, but it doesn't get you off the line too much," he said. "You have time to recover."

There will be plenty of work against cut blocks during practice this week.

"It's going to be hard in practice, but in the game it's going to be easy, it's going to be natural," Crawford said. "We'll be able to get Georgia Tech."

History might be on his side.

Clemson has faced Georgia Tech's wing bone option five times since Paul Johnson arrived to Atlanta in 2008. The Yellow Jackets have rushed for an average of 299.6 yards against the Tigers.

In the two games played over that period, Georgia Tech rushed for 229 and 242 yards. The other three matchups -- two in Atlanta and the other in Tampa -- saw the Yellow Jackets roll up over 300 yards.

There are two keys to slowing down Yellow Jackets, which rank third in the country in rushing.

"It comes down to just playing your assignment and being real disciplined, not trying to do other people's jobs and just focusing on yours," Crawford said.

Easier said than done, right?

"I ask the same question. I really don't why. It's just -- I don't know -- it comes down to being disciplined," he said.

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