For the past two seasons, Clemson has been blessed with the ACC’s leader in sacks – first Da’Quan Bowers and then Andre Branch.
Position coach Marion Hobby is trying to keep the pressure to a minimum, however, by stressing fundamentally-sound pass-rushing technique and all-around solid defensive end play.
“We talk about sacks, and we need some,” said Hobby. “But what I’m asking Malliciah to do is just be a solid left end for us. If he does that, then the sacks and the tackles for loss will come.”
Hobby said he judges his players’ performance by an ‘opportunity grade.’
“We always give our guys a grade on situations where they had an opportunity to make a play,” Hobby said. “That’s a big thing for me. If a guy can go 6-for-6 on opportunity-grade and never make a sack, I think he’s helped Clemson. So I’m good with that as well.
“I don’t want to base everything on sacks – not to Malliciah or any of our guys. He can have a great year, have only five sacks, and he’s still one of the best defensive ends in the country.”
Nevertheless, Hobby says he believes Goodman is motivated by the fact that he had more misses than hits last season.
“Last year, Malliciah missed more (sacks) than he made, and that embarrasses him a little bit,” said Hobby. “He had some opportunities to get the guy on the ground and missed them. That quarterback looks so good sitting back there in the pocket – it looks so easy to get him. And then one step and he’s out of the way, even with (Goodman’s) big ‘ol hands…They're hard to get.”
Hobby said that Goodman’s everyday game is good enough to get him plenty of sack opportunities.
“Malliiciah is such a dependable technician,” Hobby said. “He understands. When you have a guy in there that you trust, it’s hard to pull him out of the game. I’m expecting big things from Malliciah. There’s no surprises with him.
“Malliciah’s going to have plenty of chances to get in the quarterback’s face.”
On the other side, Crawford is still learning the finer points of the game.
“One thing about Corey is that he’s very conscientious about football,” Hobby said. “We all have to remember that he was a true freshman last year. Sometimes I’d forget that, just looking at his physical makeup. He took his summer seriously, and answered the challenges we made to him to improve his game.
“He’ll be a vocal leader for us. He has natural leadership ability, and I think part of that comes from the high school program he was a part of. He’s got a great up-side.”