SUNSET – Vic Beasley is a playmaker, but it took a little while for Clemson to find where exactly he could make that impact.
“Vic coming out of high school was a great tailback,” Tigers co-defensive coordinator and ends coach Marion Hobby said. “Then he came here and he was a tailback and then a tight end and then he was a linebacker.
“We end up having just four defensive ends on scholarship and we see this fast guy and we say – ‘Well, I think he’s an end. Give him to me.’”
The transition to defensive end for the Adairsville, Ga. product has been a relatively slow process, but Hobby sees the potential.
“He was kind of in the mindset of ‘wait my turn’ (in 2011),” said Hobby. “He relaxed from that point. (Last season), he started to build confidence.
“Vic is a really intelligent football player. He understands and has the ability.”
Playing small for his position (around 220 lbs.), Beasley was limited to third down pass rush – and he made the most of it. Eight of his 18 tackles were sacks to lead the team last year.
Per snap, he averaged a team-best, by far, sack every 36 snaps played (Next-best? Every 89 for Malliciah Goodman).
Hobby is firm believer that if Beasley can be an every-down lineman, where he currently is listed atop the depth chart, that the Tigers’ defense will reap the rewards.
“He’s got to become an every-down guy. Just playing third down is tough (to make an impact),” said Hobby. “Playing more than third down allows you to make more plays than just sacks. Getting his hand on the ball.
“Looking at the spring, he’s getting his hands on the ball a lot. Tipped passes in the flat – he has a knack for finding the football.”
The move to that role comes with no guarantees though, as Hobby has seen in a defensive coaching career that stretches back to 1995.
“That’s tough. If you know what I know, some guys are better (at playing the run) than pass-(rush) players,” he said. “Some guys are better third down players than first and second down. They just develop over time…If Vic can be an every down player, I think he can put his hands on a lot of footballs.”
Hobby says he’s heard nothing but good things about Beasley’s commitment to come in ready to go for fall camp.
“He’s been working…He loves that weight room,” Hobby said. “Yeah he loves it and he’s caught up in it. Last year, he got a little sick and lost some weight.
“Last spring, he had a great spring and in the fall, you’re like: ‘Oh, here we comes,’ and then he’s back at 219 (pounds). And you say, ‘Oh, I can’t put him out there at 219 – against Auburn?’”
With a target weight in the 240s, the Tiger junior’s arrow is pointing up in ’13.
“It’s a 14-game season that we’re pulling for each year,” Hobby said. “There’s a lot of pounding so what he does in the offseason in getting bigger and stronger to handle this physical play that he’s going to have to go through – I think his ceiling is big.”