CLEMSON – A year and a half ago, Vic Beasley was a man without a position. Still.
He started with tight end then moved to linebacker then defensive end – and by 2012, his third year on campus, he was well on his way to another spot.
“They said they would try me at running back during the spring,” Beasley said, “and actually I had a good spring at end so that gave them some hope.”
Beasley already among Clemson pass rush greats
He leads nation in sacks
As a third-down specialist, the Adairsville, Ga. product posted eight sacks last season – really, finally, feeling at “home” on the d-line after a three-sack performance in late November against N.C. State.
His work put in the offseason to be an every-down guy has paid off and more through five games, where Beasley has already matched his 2012 sack total, leading the nation.
“I wasn’t really that confident last year mainly because I wasn’t playing that much,” he said. “Now that I’ve seen myself during the spring and going against (Clemson’s) tackles, I feel that that gave me a lot of confidence.”
That light turning on is one of his head coach’s favorite aspects of the game.
“That’s the best part of my job,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “Better than any win. Better than any paycheck. Better than anything. The best part is to see a young person mature and grow and develop and realize his potential. Figure it out.”
A captain for this weekend’s game versus Boston College, Beasley is on track to break the Clemson single-season sacks record (Keith Adams, 16) – with room to spare– currently in line for 19 by the regular season’s end with his nation-best 1.6 per game average.
He’s continuing a strong recent run of Tiger DEs, which include pros Da’Quan Bowers and Andre Branch.
“He’s a special football player, and the thing is, he’s just getting started,” Swinney said. “By far the best is yet to come for him. By far. He is very much a work in progress, but he is figuring it out quickly.
“He’ll leave here as one of the best we’ve ever had.”
Big Play Bryant
Last season, T.L. Hanna product Martavis Bryant led the nation with a 30.3 yards per catch average, and after five games, his big-play capability is still there.
Bryant leads the ACC in yards per reception (17.9) and is tied for first with Sammy Watkins on the Tigers for touchdown catches (3) – second in receiving yards (268).
His career 23.3 yards per catch average is best among active ACC players and bests the Clemson all-time mark by a full three yards, which was set from 1939-41 by Joe Blalock.
Fisher says FSU needs extra blockers for Tigers’ attack
Florida State’s coaching staff has the bye week for some extra prep work going into their trip to Clemson next week. Jimbo Fisher would like a little more help keeping the quarterback of his No. 6 Seminoles upright.
“I'm trying to get the ACC to give me 13 guys and give me two more linemen so we can block them,” Fisher said. "I'm serious, they bring pressure. Their stunts, their inside – Beasley, (Corey) Crawford, the inside, (Grady Jarrett), they all do. They blitz, they bring different combinations. Brent (Venables) does a tremendous job as a coach.”
Preparing to fend off the nation’s top QB-pressure team comes with pitting the ACC’s other top-talented pass rush unit against their first-team.
“We just keep practicing,” said Fisher. “You know, we keep good on good. We'll practice a lot of good on good. It's not just the scout team guys. If you're playing against the speed of the game and different guys, nothing ever simulates like a game, but you've got to do the best you can. We'll definitely have our hands full, there's no doubt.”
The attention turns a bit to the Tigers this week, but even after a strong start (5-0), the work is still heavily internal heading on the ACC road for a third time already this season.
“We'll work on Clemson some and we'll work on all of our opponents this week,” Fisher said, “and just fundamentally have to get better and identify some things that we need to improve on and maybe add to our repertoire on offense, defense and special teams. But it's going to have to be a very hard, physical week, and we're going to have to get better, there's no doubt.”