Bowden: Defense Needs An Identity

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - As the second week of spring practice rolls on, Tommy Bowden and his coaching staff are looking at the usual things - position battles, individual improvement and the like.

But with Saturday's scrimmage at Death Valley looming, Clemson's head coach is looking for something much more specific from one particular group.

His defense.

"The biggest thing we lack right now is that our first team defense needs to develop an identity like our first team offense," Bowden said after Friday's practice. "They need to develop some pride about being on defense. We've got some guys individually doing some things, but that cohesiveness takes a while to develop.

"That's one of the things we're missing right now."

It's no small wonder. Though a number of starters return for defensive coordinator Vic Koening, losing a standout defensive lineman such as Philip Merling and veteran linebackers like Tremaine Billie and Nick Watkins are bound to leave holes.

Add to their absence the suspension of linebacker Courtney Vincent and you have one entire group on that side of the ball missing from the end of 2007.

Young linebackers such as Jeremy Campbell, Stanley Hunter and Scotty Cooper - along with the rest of the defense - will get another chance to make an impact when the team scrimmages Saturday morning at Death Valley.

Bowden said they would go live from a number of different spots on the field - coming off the goal line, midfield and the red zone among them.

He also said the kicking aspect of the scrimmage will come at intermittent times throughout the morning, rather than all at once.

The scrimmage begins at 9:30 a.m., but is closed to the public.

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