Dabo Swinney challenges Malliciah Goodman, others 'to take the next step'

Coach says he expects new playmakers to emerge as season progresses, on both sides of the ball

Clemson Football Fan Appreciation Day - Malliciah Goodman

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson Football Fan Appreciation Day - Malliciah Goodman

Can Malliciah Goodman follow in the footsteps of Da'Quan Bowers and Andre Branch, both of whom led the ACC in sacks during their final collegiate seasons?

Dabo Swinney hopes so, and thinks so; but when asked Tuesday about who he expects to emerge as Clemson's primary defensive playmakers, he answered "we don't know yet."

"We know who they should be, but it's a new year, and now they've gotta go do it," said Swinney. "You expect Malliciah to be a guy who'll be a playmaker for us. But will be take that next step, like Branch did, and like Da'Quan did? He's kind of the next guy, so that's the challenge.

"All those guys took the next step. Will he do that, too?"

Swinney expects many of his questions to be answered on Saturday when the Tigers line up against Auburn.

"I think we're going to have some playmakers emerge up front that most people don't know much about at this point," he said. "But they've got to show that on game day.

"It's the same thing on the back end. We've got three veteran secondary guys who are going to play a lot for us. They've all had good years - (Rashard) Hall, (Xavier) Brewer and (Jonathan) Meeks are three guys who've been very good players for us.

"(Bashaud) Breeland is another guy that I've talked about. Darius Robinson. Stephone Anthony. All those guys have the ability to be playmakers. But as far as who's going to emerge as the media darling, based on performance? I don't know."

A similar situation exists on the offensive side - primarily on the line, but at other positions, as well.

"I think we'll see some guys emerge that aren't talked about quite as much right now," Swinney said. There are a lot of guys who are going to have bigger roles...they just haven't had that yet."

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