Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Clemson defense is leading the way

Take this quote:
“They’re way ahead, especially up front,” Swinney said. “When you have a chance to be pretty good up front, then you have a chance to be pretty good on defense. I know what’s perception, and I know what’s reality. I’m comfortable where we are defensively. We’re going to be good on that side of the ball.”
That's Dabo talking about his defense. This is the same defense that just got blistered for 60 points in front of 30,000 fans Saturday. Also, incidentally, their starting quarterback did not play in the game and his heir apparent went down with an ACL tear in the first half.

But it's not just the spring scrimmage that has everyone in Tiger Town abuzz about the defensive prospects.
“They are at our caliber. At first it was just the offense. Now the defense is up there. How they played LSU, that’s how they come every day in practice,” Watkins said. “There were a couple of practices where you came out and thought, ‘Man, they really beat us pretty bad.’ We never had that last year.”
That's Sammy Watkins...talking about the Tiger defense. The Clemson Tiger defense.

Look, I get the excitement that is evidently not waning up on Lake Hartwell after beating LSU in the CFA Bowl. That was one of the better teams defenses in the SEC last year and Chad Morris' offense ran and threw all over them for over 400 yards, yet still had to come from behind to win on a last second field goal. All in all a vast improvement over the previous year's bowl game.

But as Clemson heads into year two under defensive coordinator Brent Venables perhaps this quote from safety Travis Blanks best sums up where the defense stacks up at the end of the spring.
“We can be a lot better,” Blanks said. “We’re a year longer into the system (under Venables). We have a good senior group and a good front seven. If we clean it up in the secondary, we have a chance to be great.”
Clemson is a tough place to play. The last time Georgia was there the offense took the air (and the ice) out of the stadium while the defense locked things down. There's no doubt that the 2013 Georgia offense can light up Death Valley's scoreboard. But they better hit the ground running and do their best to keep Tahj Boyd in the same place he was last Saturday - on the bench - as much as possible.