Defensive Issues


  by - Radio Host - Tuesday, September 25, 2012 1:30 PM
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Defensive Issues
Through the first three weeks of the season, the Tuesday blog was a review of the video from the previous Saturday. However, two things happened and I will not be able to do a complete video review today. First, my DVR had issues and some of the game did not record. Second, I did not want to subject myself to having to watch that defense again yesterday. Like our government, I am against torture.

So I decided to take a look at every aspect of the defense and look into the issues.

The Numbers
Clemson's defense is 68th in the country in scoring defense. They are 93rd in the country in total defense. The Tigers are 100th in the nation against the run. They are 73rd in the country against the pass. Clemson is 101st in the nation in sacks and 81st in tackles for loss.

The Major Issues
The biggest problem is talent. Clemson lacks talent on the defensive line. This means the line can't produce a pass rush by rushing just the front four. This means if pressure is applied, it has to come from additional blitzers. The issues on the defensive line means the defense has problems stopping the run up front and the offensive linemen are able to get to the second level and get on the linebackers.

Like the defensive line, the linebackers are not getting off of blocks. They are running into blocks in fact. The linebackers don't appear to have great instincts and have a hard time finding the football.

The secondary lacks athleticism. They are not quick enough and have a hard time stopping and changing direction. The defensive backs also take poor angles in run support and too often miss tackles. In pass coverage often times the defensive backs have lacked ball skills and have been unable to make plays on the ball.

Things aren't well if you have problems at all three levels of the defense. Clemson can't shut down the run and offenses are able to become balanced against the Tigers. To make things worse, I think the defense plays to high and thus, tackles too high.

Coaching
I don't blame the scheme for much of what is wrong with the defense. Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
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has been too successful for too long. He is a highly thought of coordinator and linebacker coach. Marion HobbyMarion Hobby
Assistant Coach / Defensive Ends
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, Dan BrooksDan Brooks
Assistant Coach / Defensive Line
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and Charlie HarbisonCharlie Harbison
Defensive Backs
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are all highly respected coaches that have won a bunch of championships.

I hear some make wise cracks about bringing back the past two defensive coordinators. I would be for that if we can also bring back Jarvis JenkinsJarvis Jenkins
Sr. Defensive Tackle
#99 6-4, 315
Clemson, SC

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, Gaines Adams (RIP), DaQuan BowersDaQuan Bowers
Sr. Defensive End
#93 6-4, 277
Bamberg, SC

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, Andre BranchAndre Branch
Defensive End
#40 6-5, 260
Richmond, VA

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, Crezdon ButlerCrezdon Butler
Defensive Back
# 6-0, 180
Asheville, NC

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, Byron MaxwellByron Maxwell
Defensive Back
#36 6-1, 205
North Charleston, SC

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, Chris ChancellorChris Chancellor
Defensive Back
# 5-9, 163
Miami, FL

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, DeAndre McDanielDeAndre McDaniel
Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 180
Tallahassee, FL

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, Brandon ThompsonBrandon Thompson
Defensive Tackle
#98 6-2, 310
Thomasville, GA

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and Michael HamlinMichael Hamlin
Safety
#25 6-3, 205
Lamar, SC

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. The previous two coordinators had a ton of talent to work with. That is not the case this season.

Evaluation
The staff missed on a bunch of players in recent years on defense. The secondary is the biggest example of this. Two four stars are no longer with the program but would have never played. Two other four star starters have not developed in my opinion. Maybe those were misevaluated and is another example of bad evaluations.

Player Development
This has to be a big concern. Clemson's two deep on defense consists of two five stars, nine four stars and 11 three stars. I don't think those numbers have developed and shown results in the field.

Clemson has two five star linebackers that have not played like five stars yet. Both are young and one is fighting injuries but neither have been five stars on the field yet.

Clemson has three four star defensive ends that also have not played up to their potential yet.

The defensive tackles are young and inexperienced. The five defensive tackles listed on the two deep are three sophomores and two freshmen. Coming into the season the entire group had combined for 22 tackles and two starts.

The secondary is still the biggest concern. There are three seniors at safety that have not played well so far this season. Missed tackles, blown coverages and misplayed balls have shown up too often.

Summary
In summary, here is what I see. The defensive ends have been disappointing. These are highly recruited players that have not played well so far in their careers. The defensive tackles lack experience. The linebackers have not developed. The defensive backs lack athleticism. As a whole, there are too many missed tackles and blown coverages.

The answers come in the form of recruiting. Three years ago we complained about the wide outs. Because of recruiting at that position, no one is complaining now.

Help is coming. Robert Nkemdiche will help immediately at defensive end. Scott Pagano will help at defensive tackle. Kellen JonesKellen Jones
So. Linebacker
#52 6-1, 215
Houston, TX

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is red-shirting this season but will start next year. Hopefully the Tigers can sign Montravius Adams to help a defensive tackle.

I think D.J. ReaderD.J. Reader
Fr. Defensive Tackle
#48 6-3, 335
Greensboro, NC

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has promise at defensive tackle but he is still a freshman. Travis BlanksTravis Blanks
Fr. Defensive Back
#11 6-1, 190
Tallahassee, FL

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is a talented freshmen as well.

But those are long term answers. In the short term, I am not sure if there are any answers. This is another season where the offense may have to outscore a lot of opponents.

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Subject (Replies: 60) Author
Mickey Plyler's Blog: Defensive Issues
Crump®
disagree, a lot of it is position coaching ...there's
smokie
Harbison should be fired today***
CitadelTiger®
I have spoken w/some former players and......
72 Fla. Tiger
and Grab Brooks while you're at it!***
Prime T. Tiger
Re: Harbison should be fired today***
dgcannon39
Re: disagree, a lot of it is position coaching ...there's
ALL IN Tiger 888
Steele was great when he had 2 yrs to coach his players
xtiger
I guess I just expected growing pains win we got a new DC
ALL IN Tiger 888
everything should be on the table right now. You cant get
xtiger
IMO,it all starts with the DE's..they are bringing down the
gripitnripit
I agree.
kiggity
Re: I agree.
dgcannon39
Re: IMO,it all starts with the DE's..they are bringing down the
dgcannon39
Re: I guess I just expected growing pains win we got a new DC
dgcannon39
Re: Steele was great when he had 2 yrs to coach his players
dgcannon39
Re: disagree, a lot of it is position coaching ...there's
dgcannon39
My 2 cents
Prime T. Tiger
Re: My 2 cents
dgcannon39
BRING BACK RUMPH!!!!
SeattleTiger
You forgot Chris Clemmons. Bring him back also....***
albtigers
Mickey, enjoy the blog, but...
orangetiger05
Re: Mickey, enjoy the blog, but...
lhaselden
Re: Mickey, enjoy the blog, but...
dgcannon39
Recruiting is a crap shoot...Rankings mean nothing...We
CM Shack
Re: Recruiting is a crap shoot...Rankings mean nothing...We
lhaselden
People routinely waited an hour or more for a seat in my
CM Shack
Re: Mickey Plyler's Blog: Defensive Issues
leftneck
He says schemes aren't the issue, but...
KilgoreTrout
The problem with this article is...
ClemBert
Re: The problem with this article is...
dgcannon39
Yet Koenning immediately had success with 2-3 star players.
Razzmatazz
I should add that I/we knew BV had a tough task ahead.***
Razzmatazz
It helps when you have 2 stars like Gaines...***
CM Shack
Or maybe when you coach up 2/3 stars like Gaines.***
Razzmatazz
You can't coach Gaines athleticism and size...***
CM Shack
Yea, we don't have anyone right now
Prime T. Tiger
You see a Gaines Adams caliber player in there?***
CM Shack
Before the season, everyone thought we did!
Prime T. Tiger
They blow smoke every season...Several years ago, Billie was
CM Shack
Maybe no Gaines Adams, but overall D talent level is higher.***
Razzmatazz
Solely based off of recruiting rankings...Which we know are
CM Shack
Many studies show recruitng rankings meaningful, indicative.
Razzmatazz
Obsess much? lol.***
TigerTown
Re: Many studies show recruitng rankings meaningful, indicative.
dgcannon39
Re: Maybe no Gaines Adams, but overall D talent level is higher.***
dgcannon39
Re: You see a Gaines Adams caliber player in there?***
dgcannon39
Re: You can't coach Gaines athleticism and size...***
footballmanager
Re: You can't coach Gaines athleticism and size...***
dgcannon39
Re: Or maybe when you coach up 2/3 stars like Gaines.***
Orpride
Re: It helps when you have 2 stars like Gaines...***
dgcannon39
2014 until a Venables owned defense ...
Atlanta Orange®
Re: 2014 until a Venables owned defense ...
amikie
Re: 2014 until a Venables owned defense ...
dgcannon39
We dont have top 5 defensive talent but we sure have
AllTimeClemson
Re: We dont have top 5 defensive talent but we sure have
dgcannon39
More Jumping Jacks !***
OhWiseOne®
Re: More Jumping Jacks !***
dgcannon39
Incoming Talent
kcbritton
I agree some of it is talent
BentZero
Re: I agree some of it is talent
dgcannon39
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