Muse says the Clemson secondary brings swag to the defense


by - Senior Writer -
Muse says the Tigers are having fun on defense this season
Muse says the Tigers are having fun on defense this season

CLEMSON – Clemson’s defense in 2018 was built around a bigger set of defensive linemen who, in the words of safety Tanner Muse, looked a little sloppy. The defense in 2019 is built around a dynamic back-seven that is known for its swag.

The Tigers are ranked No. 4 nationally in total defense nationally. That includes a No. 2 ranking in pass defense with the Tigers giving up a paltry 136.1 yards per game. The Tigers are also sixth in scoring defense, which is a little misleading because many of the points scored by the opposition have come with the third-stringers and below in the game.

Muse said the defense has more swag than it did a year ago.

"I think it's a different dynamic leading from the back end than leading from the front end, which is what you see more often,” Muse said. “As a defensive back, you're really aggressive and you take no crap and you just try to bring everybody with you on that. It's just a different mindset as a defensive back. It's a nice difference, it's more swag, I guess. The defensive line is just kind big, heavyset, sloppy guys. And the back end, you got swag, you look good, it just flows better."

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables started out the season playing a predominantly three-man front but switched to a four-man front (at times) against running teams like FSU, Louisville and Boston College.

Muse said it’s been fun watching the younger defensive linemen grow into their roles.

"We've been in a three-man front all year and it kind of got 'em all tore up a little bit. So, having them grow into it and having the four-man front now, they're having fun,” Muse said. “Nyles Pinckney and Jordan Williams have done a great job getting them ready, and Tyler Davis is just playing incredible right now. And our ends, especially with Xavier Thomas who went down, a lot of production was lost, but seeing them rise to the occasion has been awesome and it's made it a lot easier on the back end."

Muse said that while the defensive linemen might have not liked playing a three-man front, there was no way the youngsters were going to voice their displeasure to Venables.

"They might have been, but they ain't going to let Coach V know,” Muse said. “They are going to do what they're told like everybody else, because he's going to put us in the best position. But I think they have a little bit more fun with that four-man front."

The Tigers faced a physical Boston College team last week and gave up just 97 yards on the ground. This week, the Tigers match up against a Wofford team that is second in the FCS in rushing with 361.7 yards per game.

"Coach Venables wanted us to thud up all the scout team reps and it takes a toll on you, but it needed to be done,” Muse said of last week’s practices. “I thought we were very physical at the line. Our d-line did a great job penetrating and it opened up the holes for us to penetrate."

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