Beasley has eye on the prize

CLEMSON - Vic Beasley isn't hiding from the facts. He knows his position in Clemson's record books. And what he wants it to be his.

Through six games, Clemson's standout junior defensive end has nine sacks, putting him well on pace to smash the Tigers' single-season sack record of 16.5, held by Keith Adams.

"I'm striving to go get it," Beasley said. "I have nine sacks already and the record is 16 and a half. I'm going to keep striving."

Entering Saturday's 8:22 p.m. kickoff against Florida State, Beasley is second nationally in sacks and fourth in tackles for loss. He's also learning the most important lesson about life in the spotlight: constant adjustment.

A year ago, Beasley racked up eight sacks in only 288 snaps while playing in spot duty behind senior Malliciah Goodman. He caught opposing offenses by surprise, something that hasn't been the case this season.

"They all approach me different," Beasley said. "They've got different tactics. (Boston College's left tackle) tried to knock my hands down every time I pass-rushed. It's different guys, different ways."

That means Beasley has to be different, too. His favorite move is the dip-and-rip, where he goes under and around a left tackle, but that can't be his move 100 percent of the time.

"I change my stuff up every week," he said. "I know they're watching film on me so I change my rush up every week, so they don't know what's coming."

It also helps that Beasley is just one piece of a strong defensive line along with junior defensive end Corey Crawford and emerging star defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, as well as a host of talented players that add depth like Josh Watson, DeShawn Williams, Tavaris Barnes and freshman end Shaq Lawson.

Clemson leads the nation in both sacks and tackles for loss per game.

"I feel it helps keep an offensive line on their toes," Beasley said. "You can't mainly focus on me the whole game. Corey getting sacks has helped me out a lot, helped open up lanes."

This week, he faces a very different challenge in Florida State's strong, athletic line and redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston.

Winston is highly elusive, and the Seminoles' line has protected him well, allowing only nine sacks this season.

"He's similar to Tajh in a lot of ways," Beasley said of Winston. "They're both elusive, can both run. I feel like our defensive line, we'll be able to get after him. I feel like we go against it every day with Tajh at quarterback. Tajh can run. It's pretty similar. It shouldn't be too different."

If Beasley is right, his special season will continue – and he'll be one step closer to tracking down Adams' record. Adams has a unique perspective on the matter: he's currently working with Clemson's staff as a student assistant coach, helping the Tigers' linebackers while finishing his undergraduate degree.

"He always gives me crap about it," Beasley said of the record. "I tell him I'll go get it and he's like, all right, go get it, go do it."

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