When basketball season begins, Brad Brownell hopes to unleash a "three-headed monster" on opposing ball-handlers.
Sustained and intense on-the-ball pressure was missing from Clemson's defensive formula a year ago, and Brownell hopes to correct the deficiency this season with the point guard trio of Rod Hall, Adonis Filer and Jordan Roper.
Hall and Filer will carry the load, as both have what Brownell describes as 'college-ready' bodies and on-the-ball defensive skills. Roper will play a supporting role, as well, allowing Brownell to keep fresh legs in the game whenever situations call for high-pressure defending.
"That was a weakness of ours last year," said Brownell earlier this week. "Two years ago, we were pretty good with our on-ball defense with Demontez (Stitt) and Zavier Anderson, mainly. We did it a little bit with Andre (Young), but not as much. It was really problematic for some teams.
"Last year with Andre trying to do it, and some of our freshmen, it just wasn't as good. Some of it was a lack of experience, and some of it was just Andre's lack of size."
Brownell plans to utilize all three players at the point early in the year, and while he doesn't expect "Jordan to be as good at it as Rod and Adonis, I think with the three of them together, we can exert a little more pressure and use maximum energy."
Brownell said that because the Tigers' point guard position won't have to fill the role of primary scorer, it gives him latitude with the way he'll utilize personnel.
"You're not as worried about saving one of those guys for their offense," he said. "Sometimes as a coach, like last year with Andre, it was hard to me to get Andre to be this pesky full-court defender when I knew we needed him on offense to score.
"To ask him to do all of that would have been too much. And at times we suffered defensively because of it. Andre was a good, solid defender, but applying tremendous ball pressure wasn't his strength."
He thinks this year's group is better suited to making offenses work harder for the their shots.
"I think some of the other guys will be able to do a little better at that," Brownell said, "and being a three-headed monster is going to help."