Slimmer Barnes looks to avoid the 10-lap penalty

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Tavaris BarnesTavaris Barnes
RS Jr. Defensive End
#9 6-3, 270
Jacksonville, FL

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is perfectly happy at defensive end, and doesn’t consider a move back inside to be in his best interest at this point in his Clemson career.

As a result, defensive ends coach Marion HobbyMarion Hobby
Assistant Coach / Defensive Ends
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keeps a check on his pupil’s weight and if he thinks Barnes is getting a little too heavy, he tells Barnes that he is “looking like a 3-technique.”

Barnes told TigerNet Wednesday that he tipped the scales at 288 pounds this spring, but dropped 13 pounds over the summer and hopes to play at a more svelte 275 pounds this fall.

"I'm at 275 now. I just focused on being in shape for the season and ran more in the offseason,” Barnes said. “I'm faster. I'm quicker.”

And what happens if Hobby finds out that Barnes is over that magical 275-pound mark?

“He makes me run 10 laps,” Barnes said with a smile. “He wants me at 275. So he checks me every day. If I am 276, he makes me run 10 laps.

Barnes logged 232 snaps in relief of Malliciah GoodmanMalliciah Goodman
Defensive End
#97 6-4, 270
Florence, SC

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last season, and might see that number rise this season as he competes with Corey CrawfordCorey Crawford
Jr. Defensive End
#93 6-5, 270
Columbus, GA

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for playing time.

Barnes was asked if he thinks this is the year he finally breaks out, and he said yes.

"Definitely. I'm more focused. I know this system better,” he said. “I do feel this will be a breakout year."

Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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said that Crawford was almost unblockable in the recent scrimmage, but Barnes feels like his experience and dedication are closing the gap.

"Well, I feel like I had a much better day today than I did in the first scrimmage,” he said. “And we've got a big scrimmage coming up this Saturday, so I hope to do well in that one.”

Barnes said he feels he is weakest in his pass rush, but is working with Hobby on improving that part of his game.

"I'm not really an established pass-rusher,” he said. “I am more of a bull-rush guy. I do work on countering inside more, but the best thing I do is the point of attack. They run the ball to my side more anyway. I contain the ball well. When I'm over the tight end, I'm going to get him out of the way."

He then said that he also has to work on his “motor” and not take plays off, even in practice.

“I am not satisfied with my motor right now,” he said. "You've got to bring it. You can't take plays off. A lot of this game is mental. When you're out there going at it for 50 or more plays, you're going to be tired. That's when your mind must take over. You've got to keep going. You're tired, but you've got to keep going."

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