What question marks? Dabo Swinney thinks well-stocked secondary will step up in '13

'That's an area of our team that we've just got to solidify by getting all those pieces in the right place'

Clemson strong safety Garry Peters tries to break up a pass intended for Virginia Tech flanker Marcus Davis.

Clemson strong safety Garry Peters tries to break up a pass intended for Virginia Tech flanker Marcus Davis.

Question marks? What question marks?

At the conclusion of a four-year plan designed to upgrade Clemson's talent level on both sides of the ball, while developing self-sustaining depth across the full range of positions, Dabo Swinney likes what he sees when he surveys his football program.

When he was asked to name his greatest concern as the Tigers begin their 2013 cycle, Swinney paused and had to consider for a moment.

"The biggest concern would probably be the secondary, and shoring that back up," said Swinney. "I say that, but I am confident with the guys we have."

The Tigers battled through injury-related adversity during the 2012 season.

"It was just a difficult situation for us this year, because we lose three guys who were very significant contributors," Swinney said. "Darius Robinson, who had started and played in a lot games, was out for half the year, and we lost Martin Jenkins for the whole year. We probably don't win the ACC last year without Martin Jenkins, who has tremendous ability and up-side. We lose maybe our best player in Bashaud Breeland, who was hurt for most of the year, in and out, and trying to play through it.

"To get those guys back is going to be huge. But because of that situation, Garry Peters was able to get a lot of playing time and grow his confidence, and Cortez Davis, as a freshman this year. I think we're going to be OK."

The Tigers should also benefit from having had LSU as a bowl opponent, in that because of the personnel package needed against Les Miles' power offense, Travis Blanks was able to work exclusively at safety during bowl preparations

"Having the ability to work Travis Banks all at safety for the past four or five weeks is going be huge for us," Swinney said. "And Robert Smith is a guy who's just been waiting for (Jonathan) Meeks and (Xavier) Brewer and (Rashard) Hall to get out of here. It's kind of like when we had (Michael) Hamlin and all those guys, and Meeks had to wait his turn to step up. I'm hoping that Robert Smith can take that next step.

"That's an area of our team that we've just got to solidify by getting all those pieces in the right place."

© 2013 OrangeAndWhite.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features