Room for improvement

CLEMSON - Kevin Steele isn't one to liberally dish out praise to his players.

That kind of stuff has to be earned from the third-year defensive coordinator.

However, his evaluation of Malliciah Goodman after Saturday's stadium scrimmage should have Clemson fans feeling pretty good about what No. 97 has in-store for 2011.

"He's really mastered the technique of the position," Steele said. "He's really playing well with his hands. His foot-work is good. His power is good. He's converting when they give a play-action fake. You've got a run read, then you have to convert and pass rush. He's doing a nice job with that.

"He's just really playing really well.

Goodman finished his sophomore season with 32 total stops and three tackles for loss.

WATCH THE INDIVIDUAL: Steele offered a to the point summation of the defense as a whole.

"We better keep practicing," he said, cracking a smile.

The group may be a ways away from being a finished product, but Steele was in good spirits after the scrimmage.

"This was not a pretty site out there...they've got a good focus," he said. "We've really got some talented guys that we've got to get ready through repetition, like today, and put all the moving parts together. We've got some good moving parts, we've just got to put them all together."

In the setting of a preseason scrimmage, Steele said it's best to evaluate individuals, not the group. Usually, the best way to do that is to turn on the film.

"How is this guy doing this? How is this guy doing that? We've got a lot of moving parts out there. We've got to get the right guys in play."

SHORT-HANDED SECONDARY: There were a few defensive backs missing during Saturday's scrimmage.

Rashard Hall had a pass to miss the scrimmage because of graduation. Xavier Brewer was sidelined with a sprained foot. Garry Peters, who's worked at safety during preseason camp, was out with a bruised calf.

"It was very evident we've got to get the young secondary guys to come on," Steele said.

He added, "They know what to do. Their good, technique-wise. It's sound technique. They're cautious...they're not contesting the throws.

"We contest everything. We're not one of those people that back up, you can throw it in front of us and let's break a tackle."

Clemson had Sunday off before returning for another two-a-day session Monday morning.

All practices are closed to the public.

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