Photo-realistic Death Valley replica!
Are the Monsters back in Death Valley?

  by - Senior Writer - Friday, March 14, 2014 12:08 PM

Clemson's D.J. Reader tackling QB Tanner Price.

CLEMSON – Clemson fans have been longing for a return to the good old days of Clemson football, the days when defensive monsters like Levon KirklandLevon Kirkland
# 0, 0

View Full Profile
, Jeff Davis, Brentson BucknerBrentson Buckner
Defensive Tackle (1990 - 1993)
#89 6-3, 315
Columbus, GA

View Full Profile
, Terry Kinard, Brian DawkinsBrian Dawkins
Safety (1992 - 1995)
#20 6-0, 200
Jacksonville, FL

View Full Profile
and Michael Dean Perry roamed Death Valley instilling fear into opposing offenses.

Those days may be about to return.

Clemson’s blowout loss to West Virginia in the 2012 Orange Bowl was undoubtedly the lowest point – the Tiger defense was shredded, humiliated and trampled, and many despaired that there might never be a feared defense to cheer for in their lifetimes.

Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
View Full Profile
added defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
View Full Profile
after that Orange Bowl loss, and along the way several young players who were still trying to find their way on that miserable night in Florida grew up.

During the 2013 season, Clemson’s defense finished 24th nationally while leading the nation in tackles for loss with 123. The defensive line was a big reason for that astounding number, and they are all back in 2014, including defensive tackle Grady JarrettGrady Jarrett
Sr. Defensive Tackle
#50 6-1, 290
Conyers, GA

View Full Profile
, who thinks his defense will take another step forward this season.

"I believe we have the personnel and the coaching staff to be if not the best, certainly one of the best in the country,” Jarrett said last week. “We just have to come out and stick to it everyday. We have young guys, young talent on the corners, but outside of that we're all seasoned vets. The sky is the limit for us as long as we believe in our coaches. We have to cut out the big plays and everything will take care of itself. We had so much improvement this (past) year which kind of went unnoticed and unrecognized, but we're just going to keep getting better."

Sack master Vic BeasleyVic Beasley
RS Sr. Defensive End
#3 6-3, 225
Adairsville, GA

View Full Profile
surprised a lot of people by returning for his senior season, and he said that one of the reasons he decided to spend another year in Clemson was due to the fact he wants to see how good the defense can become.

“I’m very excited. We’ve got a great front seven,” Beasley said last week. “We lost guys like Spencer ShueySpencer Shuey
Linebacker (2009 - 2013)
#33 6-3, 230
Charlotte, NC

View Full Profile
and Quandon ChristianQuandon Christian
Linebacker (2009 - 2013)
#34 6-2, 225
Lake View, SC

View Full Profile
, but we’ve got Stephone AnthonyStephone Anthony
Sr. Linebacker
#42 6-2, 235
Polkton, NC

View Full Profile
and Tony StewardTony Steward
Sr. Linebacker
#7 6-0, 235
Hastings, FL

View Full Profile
. Our front four, we’ve got all seniors and we’re just ready to make a statement again this year.

“I feel like we’ve got plenty of time to get better – all spring and all of fall camp. I think by the time it’s all said and done, we’ll be a lot like Florida State was last year – a top-notch defense and probably one of the best in the country.”

Beasley then said that if defense wins championships, he can dream the impossible dream.

“Playing with this group one more time is very big for me,” he said. “It’s an accomplishment. I just want to go back out here and make a statement with this team one more time and hopefully end it with a national championship run and bring home the national championship back to Clemson.”

The big question mark surrounding the defense is the secondary – we’ve been saying that for a few years now – but Beasley thinks a ferocious front seven will take some of the pressure off that group.

“We have to be more of a leader to the secondary because we have such a young secondary,” he said. “That’s one of roles to be better this year. We have to be committed this year. We were committed last year, but there’s always room for improvement. I feel like with more commitment, we can be the best d-line in the country.”

Senior defensive tackle DeShawn WilliamsDeShawn Williams
Sr. Defensive Tackle
#99 6-1, 285
Central, SC

View Full Profile
says that the fearsome group up front is playing with confidence born of experience.

“We are very confident in the knowledge of the playbook,” Williams said. “We can call out things even before they happen. Right now, we are just playing very free and confident.”

The defense will get its first big test during the season opener against Georgia, and then two weeks later against Florida St., something that Williams says every player is aware of.

“It does make you push harder,” he said. “Because you know what you are about to get into.”

Rate this Story:
31 votes
Send Feedback to David Hood: Email | Comment
    The Piano Man - 2 days ago
    Clemson's Vic Beasley is a virtuoso on the football field, but playing the piano in his spare time helps him relax. When did he learn to play? When did he make his public debut? Full Story »
    Tiger Tidbits: No Fly Zone, Deshaun Watson and more - 5 days ago
    What's the latest we've heard this week surrounding the Clemson program? How is Deshaun Watson doing this summer as he rehabs from injury? What is the "No Fly Zone?" Full Story »
    Shaq Lawson: The forgotten man? - 6 days ago
    Sophomore defensive end Shaq Lawson can turn pro after this season - he spent a year at Hargrave - and defensive ends coach Marion Hobby says that Lawson has the talent to play on the next level. What else does Hobby say about Lawson? What will it take to keep the Daniel grad off the field? Full Story »
    Venables: The story of this defense will be told on the field - 6 days ago
    Brent Venables has heard about the hype and preseason expectations for his defense, but he told the media Tuesday that this unit won't achieve greatness in the media or on the message boards, it will have to earn it on the playing field. Full Story »
    Lack of respect? Clemson coaches think so - 1 week ago
    The national media doesn't give Clemson much of a chance to sustain the recent success the program has achieved, pointing to the loss of players like Sammy Watkins and Tajh Boyd as too much to overcome. However, Clemson's coaching staff has other ideas. Full Story »

Post your comments

Subscribe to our RSS Feed
Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook
Sign Up for News Alerts
Daily Digest