March 22, 2023 12:32 am

Mike Reed is convinced the way final season went left a negative taste in the collective mouth of Clemson’s defense.

“It left a single in mine,” Reed stated.

But do not take his word for it. The Tigers’ longest-tenured assistant, who serves as assistant head coach and cornerbacks coach, pointed to some of Clemson’s major performers on that side of the ball as additional proof – ones that could’ve bolted for the NFL just after final season.

“You see some of the guys that came back,” Reed stated. “Tyler Davis. Ruke Orhorhoro. It left a negative taste.

“If we would’ve won the national championship, their (butts) in all probability would’ve left. But there’s some unfinished small business.”

Clemson’s defensive efficiency below initial-year coordinator Wes Goodwin didn’t encounter a precipitous dropoff. The Tigers completed in the major 30 nationally in points and yards permitted, and their 12th-ranked rush defense permitted just 102 yards per game on the ground.

But the defense grew to be a suffocating unit below Brent Venables, whose decade-lengthy run as a single of college football’s major defensive coordinators at Clemson ended final year when he took the head job at Oklahoma. Comparatively speaking, it wasn’t superior adequate.

“The bar and the typical right here is higher,” Reed stated. “The little ones fully grasp that when they come right here, they’re coming right here with a objective. They want to championships. When you do not get to what you seriously want, you have got to come back and you have got to repair it.”

The defense’s largest concern final season was consistency, Reed stated, specifically against the pass. Playing with 3 new starters in the secondary, Clemson struggled for substantially of the season maintaining the ball in front. The Tigers, who completed in the bottom third of the ACC in pass defense, permitted 48 completions of at least 20 yards.

With each starter returning in the defensive backfield, Reed is expecting maturity to aid with that going into subsequent season. But he noted basic play on the back finish also has to be shored up.

“Now guys are realizing when coaches have been stressing the facts and the tiny items, they fully grasp, woah, that is the distinction among a touchdown and a pass breakup,” Reed stated. “Or a missed block could imply a massive play. Guys understand it. They see it, they’re a lot more mature, and it is time for them to turn the web page and get much better.”

Reed stated he’s observed a hungry defense so far throughout spring practices.

“They want to win, and they really like to compete,” he stated. “Guys are seriously going just after it.”

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