Back last April at the time of the Spring game, my cousin and I discussed what our defense would probably be like this year with the departures from last year.
He told me that our first team unit (the ones) would be solid, and there would not be a noticeable drop-off from last year's on-field performance. However, into the two/three deep, he mentioned there would be a noticeable due to less quality/experienced depth due to more freshmen in there. Last year, we could just rotate guys frequently, but this year, we would not be able to do that.
Therefore, he told me that, given these factors, in the First Half, our defense would appear to be about as good as last years, but in the Second Half, teams would start running all over us more, and we would have to rely on out-scoring teams more often to win games (ala 2012'ish?) relying more on our offense to carry us thru this year more than last year. He told me that our offense would be very good this year.
As far as defensive rankings go, many here and on other Clemson forums thought we would be more Top 25-30 in defense thru this season.
SBR Handicapper Joe Duffy predicted us to have a weak Front 7 this year and thought that some of our opponents later on would come up with a plan based on a short-passing-game to nickel & dime us.
As far as leadership on defense goes, does anyone think leadership issues could also be playing some role in the 'inconsistent' performance over the last month?