Young Clemson defenders are 'figuring it out,' Dabo Swinney says

'You can only bring them so far. They have to go play, make mistakes, and correct their mistakes'

Grady Jarrett pressures Wake QB Tanner Price in the first half

Photo by Mark Crammer

Grady Jarrett pressures Wake QB Tanner Price in the first half

Seventeen points against Virginia Tech; 13 against Wake Forest.

Those, in Dabo Swinney's eyes, are winning defensive numbers.

"Seventeen or less, two weeks in a row," Swinney said. "If you can do that, you'll win a lot of games."

Especially when complementing an offense that's regularly throwing 40-something up on the scoreboard.

Swinney says there's nothing magical or unexpected about the Tigers' gradual defensive improvement.

"They're figuring it out," he said Thursday night after the Tigers rolled past Wake Forest 42-13. "They're learning how to play from their own experience. All those young guys up front are starting to become players, and now you see (senior) Malliciah (Goodman) coming on, too.

"They've had eight games and an open date. They've watched themselves on film. You can only bring them so far. They have to go play, make mistakes, and correct their mistakes."

Swinney said the Tigers' front seven are starting to win more individual match-ups, while playing better in concert, as well.

"They're getting things right, playing off each other and just executing things better," said Swinney. "They're playing with low pads and getting leverage, and playing with a lot of confidence.

"Confidence is a huge part of it, and that comes from understanding what they're doing and playing a little faster."

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Comments » 7

Bleedsorange writes:

I'm not too worried that duke will show well in Tallahassee. Though we need them to. VT's defense is our last hope at winning the Atlantic now. Thanks Miami.

michtiger writes:

Just slow down Dabo. This was a WF team with the sisters of mercy playing on the O line, not much of a receiving staff and a QB throwing for his life. I hope they will gain some confidence. Be carefull on VT performance, we made some big Def. plays but they gained a lot of yards. Lets keep it real, they are improving very slowly but the DB's are a passers dream and Duke can pass. I think we can outscore Duke but away game with a defense that is not prime time yet is not that easy. Lets be aware that the loss of motivation and drive by O was a little disconcerting. Happened in VT game and remember we had a 14 point lead on FSU before O lost all focus. They need to learn to play 60 min like they are behind!!

TrevorT writes:

in response to michtiger:

Just slow down Dabo. This was a WF team with the sisters of mercy playing on the O line, not much of a receiving staff and a QB throwing for his life. I hope they will gain some confidence. Be carefull on VT performance, we made some big Def. plays but they gained a lot of yards. Lets keep it real, they are improving very slowly but the DB's are a passers dream and Duke can pass. I think we can outscore Duke but away game with a defense that is not prime time yet is not that easy. Lets be aware that the loss of motivation and drive by O was a little disconcerting. Happened in VT game and remember we had a 14 point lead on FSU before O lost all focus. They need to learn to play 60 min like they are behind!!

I love it when people post advice to the head coach, as if they are the one who really has their finger on the pulse of the team, as they sit on their couch watching ESPN. If you really want to keep it real, remember that your knowledge of this team and their opponents is microscopic compared to Coach Swinney.

brandon29153 writes:

in response to michtiger:

Just slow down Dabo. This was a WF team with the sisters of mercy playing on the O line, not much of a receiving staff and a QB throwing for his life. I hope they will gain some confidence. Be carefull on VT performance, we made some big Def. plays but they gained a lot of yards. Lets keep it real, they are improving very slowly but the DB's are a passers dream and Duke can pass. I think we can outscore Duke but away game with a defense that is not prime time yet is not that easy. Lets be aware that the loss of motivation and drive by O was a little disconcerting. Happened in VT game and remember we had a 14 point lead on FSU before O lost all focus. They need to learn to play 60 min like they are behind!!

Dabo is just a class act. sure we could have scored 60 plus points last night but he's not steve spurrier or dan holgorsen and just run the score up because he can. i do believe if given the chance he'll try and embarrass scar but thats different. and our defense is improving drastically exspecially up front with the run game. yeah our passing D needs some help but with our high octane offense if we can stop the run like we have been these past few weeks and make teams one dementional. we will get stops and turnover. just my opinion.

brookesdad729 writes:

Love the win and I am sure that this does give the defense a little more confidence and make them a little more aggressive and a little less apprehensive. The first td WF scored was definitely assisted by 30 yards of penalties, but I like the way Shuey is playing! He's starting to come out and attack. We'll have him for another year so that's good. Didn't realize we had so many LB's. I think I counted at least 12 on the roster. That 3rd quarter offense worried me to no end. Too many 3 and outs! Just sayin. This team wasn't that good. We need consistent play on both sides of the ball. Right now it's all or nothing! Go Tigers!

michtiger writes:

in response to TrevorT:

I love it when people post advice to the head coach, as if they are the one who really has their finger on the pulse of the team, as they sit on their couch watching ESPN. If you really want to keep it real, remember that your knowledge of this team and their opponents is microscopic compared to Coach Swinney.

I know dabo is trying hard to boost d confidence.i think this is one of best O in country but I doubt if on your couch if you consider the quality of teams we have played and the yds they have gained if you don't feel the "pulse " of the D and wonder. also notice that Dabo saw the lack of energy in the 3rd from the O and sent them back in to get their attention. Not the pulse of the team but what is obvious to all the sports experts. Why do you think the computers have us 10 spots lower than polls. Glad you have an opinion but so does everyone else. That is What blogs do, share opinions. and Seneca fans do not look at a team with blinders on they also look for the real world data. I know you believe that because you saw it in baseball!!. Disagree but questioning anothers FAN Loyality is rather crude

TrevorT writes:

I never questioned your loyalty Mich. Keep your posts straight. I don't even disagree with you on some of your points. I was only observing how silly it is to make a post implying that you know better than the coach what is going on with HIS team. Dabo doesn't strike me as liar or unrealistic. If he offers our team some well deserved praise I just don't understand why some fans feel the need to undermine that.

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