Ready for the next step

If they didn't know each other well before, Vic Beasley and Joey Batson will have plenty of chances to get more acquainted this summer.

Beasley's growth during offseason strength and conditioning work could play a big part in determining how much better the Clemson defense will be in 2013 -- that's not to say he hasn't been solid already.

At times, Beasley was a headache during spring ball.

"I'm glad he's on our team," said Dabo Swinney, who called Beasley the Tigers' most "dynamic" pass rusher.

As a redshirt sophomore last season, that was evident. Beasley led Clemson with eight sacks, seven of which were recording during ACC play. But he needs to make himself a headache in more than one more defensive situation -- the run.

To help make him an every down defensive end, Beasley has been asked to get his weight up over the summer. Towards the end of spring practice, he tipped the scales at 232 pounds. The target weight for the fall is somewhere in the 245-250 range.

Conditioning will also play a critical role in his development. Beasley admitted that there were times this spring when his fitness level was an issue.

Beasley hasn't played a ton of snaps since arriving to campus in 2010. In 2011, he played only 16 snaps. Last year, he played 288 snaps in 13 games for an average of just over 22.2 snaps per game. Clemson's defense played an average of 70.2 snaps in 2012.

Listed as a starter after spring ball, Beasley is expected to play more than 1/3 of the defensive snaps against Georgia.

Enter Batson.

"I'm just going to work with coach B," Beasley said. "Strength and conditioning is big, for me it is. I'm just going to see if he can get me to that next level."

And he's fine with that.

"Whatever the coaches have for me, whatever they want me to do, I'm OK with it," Beasley said.

During the spring, Swinney saw some evidence of that, though it did take some time for Beasley to reach that point.

"He's actually becoming a little bit of a leader, and that's something I thought I would never say," Swinney said.

He added, "That's why you coach -- seeing guys improve and buy in and develop -- seeing potential in guys and then having the light come on for them.

"[Beasley's] working and he's physically doing the things he needs to do to improve as a player."

Beasley would like to be on the field for the first play against Georgia. Whether he's getting after Aaron Murray or in pursuit of Todd Gurley, Beasley wants to the first play of the season to be a productive one.

"Hopefully, I can get the job done. I [had] been starting for the last couple of weeks," Beasley said. "Going into this first game, me being a starter, I feel I can go out there and help our team get the victory."

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