Communication is the key

GREENSBORO, NC - Clemson's defense seemed out of sorts in 2011. Whether there was a lack of information or too much to process, something wasn't right.

At times, linebackers and defensive backs would scramble in the waning seconds before the snap, looking towards the sideline for an answer.

"I would say, maybe, there was some confusion. And there was some waiting on calls," Goodman said at Sunday's ACC Kickoff.

"During the game, even if the call is late, I'm like, ‘Hurry up. Let me know what I've got to do.' At practice sometimes, you're just like, ‘Let me know what I've got to do.'

"You want to know what you're doing so you can look at the offense. The more time you get to look at them and see what they're doing, the better."

That wasn't always the case last season.

Goodman thinks that will change in 2012. He believes things are a bit simpler with Brent Venables now running the Clemson defense.

"It'll be easier to learn because the calls aren't too long. A lot of them are simple -- you just have to learn what to do with the calls," Goodman said.

The calls are simpler, according to Goodman, largely because there are fewer words and there's less information to process.

Dabo Swinney hired Venables away from Oklahoma in January.
"Calling a call into a game, you can just say two short words, as opposed to a longer version of it," Goodman said.

Under Kevin Steele, any given call might include separate language for the front, the coverage and for a check off the coverage.

Venables' is different.

"Now, we just have the front and the coverage, or the blitz. It's a lot easier to get the defense called in and get everything communicated," Goodman said.

For a team that's chalk full of freshmen and sophomores, that has to be a plus.

"I believe it will be better for us, easier to learn for the younger guys, and just [to] pull those younger guys along," Goodman said.

The Clemson defense, which gave up nearly 400 yards of offense a game in 2011, is growing with confidence in 2012.

Goodman credited Venables with the renewed sense of self-assurance.

"From this spring, everybody is moving around. You can see everybody is making plays with high energy," Goodman said. "That high energy coach Venables has is just rubbing off on everybody else."

For a unit that gave up 70 points in its previous outing, anything helps. Top Stories