Travis Blanks says Tigers' technique has improved 'by leaps and bounds' under Mike Reed

'When we make mistakes, he doesn't just yell at us - he teaches us...He's taking the positives of our game and building on them'

Clemson's Taylor Watson and Clemson's Travis Blanks during the first day of spring practice in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Taylor Watson and Clemson's Travis Blanks during the first day of spring practice in Clemson.

For the players in Clemson's secondary, small numbers mean a big opportunity for improvement.

So far, the Tigers are taking full advantage of their time with new position coach Mike Reed, according to rising sophomore safety Travis Blanks.

"Our technique has improved by leaps and bounds just in the short time he's been here," said Blanks, a freshman All-American who has moved to free safety after manning the nickel spot in his first season at Clemson. "We all love Coach Reed. He played in the league and he's really helped us with our fundamentals and technique."

Blanks said that Reed's coaching style is heavy on teaching.

"He's a great teacher," Blanks said. "When we make mistakes, he doesn't just yell at us - he teaches us. He's such a good fundamentals guy. We're learning so much new technique. He's taking the positives of our game and building on them."

Blanks said his move to free safety has put him back in his own comfort zone.

"I feel very natural at free safety," he said. "That's where I played in high school. I can see the whole field."

Blanks said his main area of focus so far this spring has been "disciplined eye control."

"I can cover ground, I can tackle, and I can break up passes and all that," Blanks said. "So I think where I've improved most is in my game awareness and comfort with the game.

"Coming in as a freshman, the game is a lot faster and the playbook is a lot bigger. I've improved on the keys that I need to read. My eye discipline has been the main thing."

Blanks said he's comfortable working alongside Robert Smith, who has moved up into the starting strong safety spot, as well as freshman Jadar Johnson and walk-on Taylor Watson.

"Robert is playing strong safety and he's done a great job," said Blanks. "Jadar was working well there before he got hurt (a dislocated elbow) and now Taylor Watson has stepped in and we've gotten good production from that position.

"There are a lot of thing we can learn from the guys who played our positions last year, and also we can look at last year and see things we want to do better and improve on."

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