Is the secondary a primary concern?


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Mark Fields will be counted on for valuable snaps this season
Mark Fields will be counted on for valuable snaps this season

There aren’t a lot of question marks for Clemson’s 2016 squad, but the most glaring might just be the secondary.

Defensive backs coach Mike Reed lost starters Mackensie Alexander, Jayron Kearse and T.J. Green to the NFL, but some think this year’s secondary could be even better despite the loss of so much talent.

Cornerback Cordrea Tankersley was relatively unknown heading into last season, but is expected to be the leader in the backfield as he heads into his senior season. He said that the defense had a good season last year, but they have bigger goals this season.

“We were what - Top 10 – and we want to be number one. There are some things we have to refine if we want to be at the head of the line,” Tankersley said during the spring. “We have the guys but they need to step up. We need to be more disciplined. I think we lost consistency toward the end of the year. I think we need to get better as the year flows and we need to work harder.”

Tankersley said he believes they have the personnel to take the top spot in the country. However, the unit will be extremely young.

“I think we just have to grow up even more. We lost some great players in Jayron Kearse and Mackensie Alexander- those are some great dudes,” he said. “We just have to have guys like Marcus Edmond and Ryan Carter step up. They've been doing great this spring so far, but they just need to grow up. Jadar Johnson has been a great leader for us and that vocal guy and a guy who is very experienced and knows the game. I've been very impressed with him this spring.”

Ryan Carter or Mark Fields will probably man the spot opposite Tankersley with freshman Trayvon Mullen and Adrian Baker – who is sidelined with a torn ACL – also in the mix.

Fields – who came to Clemson as one of the top-rated cornerbacks in the country is ready to take the next step in his career, according to Tankersley.

“I just feel like he wasn't ready yet. He had the time he needed to grow up. He has the mindset, and he has the body to do it, but I think he needed to learn not to carry stuff from off the field onto the field,” Tankersley said. “I think I can tell him what I've been through - learn the system and go out there and try to be the best player he can be. He doesn't need to be Mackensie. He just needs to be Mark Fields. Not saying that Mackensie is a bad player to look up to, but he needs just to go out there and be his own man. He has all the qualities - he has the quickness, and he has the speed to go out there and be the best corner. He has it; he just has to go out there and show it and put in the extra work and film study.”

At safety, senior Jadar Johnson is expected to man one spot with Van Smith, Carter, Isaiah Simmons, Denzel Johnson and Tanner Muse competing at the other. Johnson is a veteran with 41 tackles, four interceptions and four pass breakups in 571 snaps (39 games). Smith – a sophomore – played in five games on defense as a freshman and logged an interception.

Despite a lot of youth, head coach Dabo Swinney said there is a lot of competition at both safety spots.

“When you flip it over to the safety you have some competition there that will make us better,” Swinney said. “We’ve got some good experience that's mixed in there with Van (Smith), a little bit of veteran flavor there and got a little bit of experience last year to go with Jadar (Johnson), Korrin (Wiggins) will be back. (Tanner) Muse - I'm very pleased with where he's at right now. And then Denzel (Johnson) and Ryan can play there, too. And then you bring in (Isaiah) Simmons, and you bring in Nolan (Turner) and those guys to add into that, and I think it will help us.”

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables said Mullen, Simmons and K’Von Wallace will all have an opportunity for early playing time because of the youth and inexperience in the secondary.

“I'm not a magician. I can't just 'poof' and have another one show up,” Venables said. “Because of our issues, numbers wise at corner Ryan Carter was a guy we had working there. Whether or not he has a chance to go back doesn't look great. All of those young guys we recruited and signed have to come in and be ready to contribute.”

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Subject (Replies: 35) Author
spacer New Story: Is the secondary a primary concern?
TigerNet News
spacer In a nut shell
Prime T. Tiger
spacer With our DL in the backfield all day long
Neal in NC®
spacer If we were more proven at DE, sure.
TigersAndCubs
spacer Re: With our DL in the backfield all day long
allorangeallthetime52®
spacer this DL isn't the same DL as with Vic and Grady, or
epifunny
spacer if there's anyone who fits the 2014 bill
epifunny
spacer Re: this DL isn't the same DL as with Vic and Grady, or
FEEL
spacer Re: In a nut shell
CmoneyTiger
spacer Johnson
Prime T. Tiger
spacer Re: Johnson
CmoneyTiger
spacer Jadar is lock to start as you stated. There isn't even..
Carlsbad®
spacer Re: Jadar is lock to start as you stated. There isn't even..
CmoneyTiger
spacer Re: Jadar is lock to start as you stated. There isn't even..
Prime T. Tiger
spacer Re: In a nut shell
ColumbiaTiger66
spacer Re: In a nut shell
lhaselden
spacer The Secondary
Prime T. Tiger
spacer Re: The Secondary
lhaselden
spacer Re: In a nut shell
allorangeallthetime52®
spacer Given our frequent confusion and busts in the secondary
Chuckston T-Man
spacer Re: Given our frequent confusion and busts in the secondary
CmoneyTiger
spacer Unfortunately, as we saw against ND, UNC, SC and to
Chuckston T-Man
spacer Re: Unfortunately, as we saw against ND, UNC, SC and to
CmoneyTiger
spacer Re: Given our frequent confusion and busts in the secondary
allorangeallthetime52®
spacer I can see us possibly just taking a step back at cb.
Carlsbad®
spacer Re: I can see us possibly just taking a step back at cb.
twentytwofifteen
spacer I was talking the scondary and not LB
Carlsbad®
spacer Re: I can see us possibly just taking a step back at cb.
CmoneyTiger
spacer Re: I can see us possibly just taking a step back at cb.
lhaselden
spacer Re: Given our frequent confusion and busts in the secondary
lhaselden
spacer Re: New Story: Is the secondary a primary concern?
Dugatiger®
spacer No but when will u write an article
ClemsonSCTiger
spacer Re: New Story: Is the secondary a primary concern?
njones63®
spacer Mullen is as talented/gifted/athletic as Mac
GrandOleTiger
spacer Korrin Wiggins?
jfmahon®
spacer Re: New Story: Is the secondary a primary concern?
TigerRam81
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