Shuey wants to restore order

CLEMSON - Defense was the backbone of the Clemson program when Spencer Shuey first got to school in 2009.

Two years later, when he was a redshirt sophomore, that was hardly the case.

The infusion of elite-level talent with the acquisition of Chad Morris helped transition the offense into the nationally recognized side of the ball.

Coincidentally, since Morris' arrival from Tulsa, the defense has evolved into an afterthought, sometimes even a punch line.

"Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that our offense can put up those points and can be that exciting to watch," Shuey said. "But we kind of take it a little personally that the recognition kind of dwindled away from us."

The loss of respect coincided with the multi-year rebuilding project spearheaded by both Kevin Steele and Brent Venables.

Since 2010, 10 players from that side of the ball have been drafted into the NFL, four of whom were in the 2011 class. For most of the previous two seasons, it was a struggle to restore order on that side of the ball.

"We [have] tried to earn some of that [respect] back," Shuey said.

The national rankings may not necessarily be indicative of progress, but anyone who's watched the program with a close eye over the last couple of seasons has probably taken notice of the signs of improvement.

Last week's 26-14 win over N.C. State being the most recent example.

"We can't rely on our offense to put up 50 points a game," Shuey said. "Sometimes, we're going to have to go out there and get some stops, to get the team win."

After last Thursday night's game, Dabo Swinney credited the defense for putting the team in a position to win.

Instead of Tajh Boyd or Sammy Watkins getting most of the credit, guys like Shuey, Stephone Anthony and Victor Beasley received nods of approval.

Shuey was named the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week. Beasley and Anthony picked up ACC Player of the Week honors at their respective positions. Beasley was also named the Bednarik National Defensive Player of the Week.

"[It's] great for Clemson to finally get some recognition on the defensive side of the ball," Shuey said. "We've gotten it on offense for the last couple of years now, but it's nice to see people realize what we're trying to do on defense.

"We're trying to bring that dominant defense back to Clemson."

Just imagine the possibilities.

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