Wes Goodwin pleased with the Clemson defense's spring progress
Goodwin has been pleased with his defense this spring.

Wes Goodwin pleased with the Clemson defense's spring progress

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Clemson defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin says he has been pleased with his entire defense this spring.

Goodwin met with the media following Wednesday’s scrimmage.

On the scrimmage and the spring

“I've been really pleased with where we're at defensively over the totality of the spring. Always talk about exposure versus exposed in spring ball and you're either trending in the right direction or trying to get in that circle of trust, but I'm really pleased with the growth over the past few weeks. All three levels of our defense and a lot of guys doing a lot of really good things. Some guys down the line getting really good exposure, good teaching moments and opportunities to progress and bring them along.”

Sammy Brown’s progression

“Every day he's gotten better. I will talk about the different phases of the spring. Go back and look at yourself, day one; hey, look at yourself now, day ten compared to day five or whatever; every day, he has gotten better and better playing linebacker in today's world. It's a lot to process, a lot to learn, and just early on, I just see the wheels turning, and now things are slowing down. He's becoming more fluid and just more comfortable, more confident, quarterbacking the defense and running the show out there when he is getting this opportunity.

“He's been productive for sure. He shows up and just consistently gets better every day.”

Which freshmen have stood out

“Ricardo's (Jones) flashed at times, him and Joe Wilkinson as well. In high school, they were always around the ball, and that’s the same way it's been here since they've been here. The ball seems to find him some way somehow. Noah Dixon has gotten better every day; he just takes his coaching. He's a very businesslike kid. I'm sure you guys have noticed, but he shows up with the right mindset every day takes his coaching corrections from the day before and doesn't make them again. Really pleased there. Champ (Thompson) had a solid start early on, and he's gotten plenty of opportunities to get out there in crucial situations and show his skillset, too.”

Peter Woods at DE

“He's one that gives you position versatility, and if you go back and study our season last year, at times, we played bigger guys on the edge as well. That's always been a philosophy of mine just from all the d-line guys that I work with, with big guys, you beat little guys all day every day and just having big guys on the edge to set the edge in the run game. That's how we get attacked most of the time because we've been so good inside, attacking the perimeter and stuff, but just every day, he's been out there. He's productive, physical, and efficient as a pass rusher as well in early downs.”

Caden Story at DE

“Yeah, he's been solid, to,o and just still learning and progressing and things are trending up there with him, too.”

On if he’s pleased with the defense

“You're never where you want to be, but I feel like we're in a really good spot. I'm confident that we can put together a good product this year and be really good defensively. Really happy with where we're at from a front seven standpoint and back seven standpoint. I feel like there's great chemistry in the run game, fitting the runs, guys knowing where their help is and in the passing game as well. It's been really good. A lot to iron out, obviously, before game one, but that's what spring practice and the summer's for.”

On Wade Woodaz at middle linebacker

“He's been great. Obviously you got to look at it at him in the bowl game and just the confidence has grown every day. He's always been well beyond his years from a knowledge standpoint, but he just needs the repetitions to do it at the MIKE position, and every day, he's getting better. He's always been kind of a vocal leader guy as well, so he's really comfortable out there setting the front and no mental errors or any issues from that standpoint from him.”

The most exciting thing about the spring

“I feel like a lot of guys, the young guys that played a lot of ball for us last year, I feel like they've taken the next step, so not necessarily that's a surprise, but always a good thing. Some guys, how do they handle success as a young guy? So that's been really cool. I mean, the biggest surprise to me is there is no surprise, I guess. I feel like we've got a lot of guys that are hungry, a lot of guys that show up with the right mindset every day get better unselfish guys, and so I wouldn't say they're really honestly any surprise right now.”

Biggest defensive improvement this spring

“I feel like we've hammered a lot of our problem areas from the spring. I know redzone, if you look at totality wise, we obviously finished down in the red zone. A lot of factors that go into that, so just really harping on situational awareness, situational football, defensive football, comes down to obviously limiting points, but turnovers last year we did a great job with that. Led the nation with 28 turnovers and five defensive scores, and then next I would say big limiting explosive plays. Did a pretty good job with that. We gave up probably too many explosive touchdowns per se, just off the top of my head, thinking of a couple. So limiting big plays and just situational football has been the most emphasized thing this spring.”

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