Holding up their end of the bargain

CLEMSON - It kind of goes without saying. That New Year's Eve bowl game against LSU was a pretty big deal.

The details of what went down that night in the Georgia Dome are pretty simple.

Tajh Boyd played the best game of his career. DeAndre Hopkins solidified his stock as a first-round draft pick. Chandler Catanzaro is as cool as a cucumber.

As a whole, the Clemson defense wasn't too shabby either. LSU was held to just 219 yards of total offense [120 passing, 99 rushing] and the SEC Tigers converted only 3-of-13 on third-down attempts.

Defensive tackle DeShawn Williams was in on two tackles in the ACC Tigers' 25-24 win.

"That gave us a great amount of confidence," he said. "Not just on defense, but around Clemson.

"We finally got that big bowl game win against an SEC opponent…a powerhouse like that -- it gave us a big, huge momentum going into [next] season."

Much of the credit goes to the play by the Clemson defense, which went on to finish the season 63rd in the country in total yardage against. Some questionable fourth play calling by former LSU offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa certainly helped, too.

"We knew what they were going to do every time," Williams said. "When you're going against a team like that, it's a powerhouse team that's going to run the ball.

"You knew what was coming. I knew what was coming. It was just trying to recognize and hold your gap."

Might there be a similar kind of result next month in the 2013 season opener"

"We're going to go against a team like that on August 31st. They're going to try to run the ball with Todd Gurley and guys like that," Williams said.

It's not a given that Clemson will come away with favorable result. But Brent Venables is reassured since all five defensive tackles from last year's rotation are back for 2013.

"Everybody always says it starts up front. Those guys have really been consistent," Venables said, during spring practice. "I've been pleased with their progress in picking up from where they left off a year ago and continuing to make improvements."

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