Swinney says defense has work to do to "get some guys ready to play"


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Jayron Kearse is one of the returning starters on Clemson's defense
Jayron Kearse is one of the returning starters on Clemson's defense

Clemson's defense lost eight starters from last year's top-ranked group, and while the new starters got plenty of experience last season as backups, that means a new group has to step forward to provide depth. That, says head coach Dabo Swinney, is what separates this year's defense from the one that finished first last season.

"Our first group, you're not going to notice a big difference from the way we finished the year," Swinney said Wednesday on the ACC media call. "The difference in our defense is the depth and not the talented depth, but the experience. Last year, we were just so experienced and our second team was as good as our first team. Whereas this year, our first group is really, really good - there is not a huge difference between Shaq LawsonShaq Lawson
So. Defensive End
#90 6-3, 269
Central, SC

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and Vic BeasleyVic Beasley
Defensive End (2010 - 2014)
#3 6-2, 236
Adairsville, GA

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. Shaq's gonna bring certain things to the table that Vic didn't. So, there are a lot of positives. D.J. ReaderD.J. Reader
Defensive Tackle (2012 - 2015)
#48 6-2, 325
Greensboro, NC

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, Carlos WatkinsCarlos Watkins
RS Jr. Defensive Tackle
#94 6-3, 295
Mooresboro, NC

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, Kevin DoddKevin Dodd
RS Jr. Defensive End
#98 6-5, 275
Taylors, SC

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, Ben BoulwareBen Boulware
Jr. Outside Linebacker
#10 6-0, 235
Anderson, SC

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, BJ Goodson, our secondary is going to be as good as it's been since we've been here.

"First group is very, very solid. The biggest difference for us is that we just don't have the experience and depth. We have talented depth, but it's very inexperienced and that is going to be the key to our defense. First of all, we gotta get a little lucky and hope that we can kind of keep those front line guys healthy. But, how quickly we can develop the young talent that we have and get them game ready to where they can help us out will be the key. But, I like where we are from the defensive standpoint. Personnel wise, we just have a lot of work to do to get some guys ready to play."

Tags: Vic Beasley, Kevin Dodd, Carlos Watkins, Shaq Lawson, D.J. Reader, Ben Boulware
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