Could Bowers move inside?

CLEMSON — Though Da'Quan Bowers is listed as the starting defensive end opposite Ricky Sapp on Clemson's defensive front, don't be surprised...

Though Da'Quan Bowers is listed as the starting defensive end opposite Ricky Sapp on Clemson's defensive front, don't be surprise to see new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele bring the 6-foot-4, 275-pound sophomore inside from time to time. In a way to create mismatches and help the Tigers improve on their league worst 14 sacks from 2008, Steele says he is going to move Bowers wherever the weakest man along the offensive front is at.

"You just have to create headaches," Steele said recently. "Offenses will do anything all the time now. It is all over the map."

What better person to create some headaches with than the guy who was unblockable during spring practice. Though he missed one scrimmage because of class work, Bowers led all Tiger defenders in sacks, tackles for a loss and quarterback pressures in the spring, while also coming off a pretty good freshman year in which he totaled 47 tackles and had eight for a loss.

His 47 tackles last year were tops along the defensive front.

"It is more of what the offensive is doing," Steele said. "In obvious passing situations, you want to have the ability to breakdown their protections by either rushing the wrong guy and dropping the wrong guy or predicting their protections and getting a beat on their protections."

And that's where Bowers comes in. The Bamberg native is physical and athletic enough to play anywhere on the field so he gives Steele, defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks and defensive ends coach Chris Rumph an advantage to line him up anywhere in hopes of exploiting an offense's weakness.

"To put Da'Quan Bowers to a tight end and they are max sliding, it doesn't make sense to keep him there," Steel said. "They're keeping a tight end and putting a back to him or a tackle and a back on him every time because they are sliding the protection to him.

"You have to confuse things a little bit and find their weakest guy and move (Da'Quan) around. That is just what you do with things. A little bit of it depends on what the offense does. We have the ability to do what we need to do and put any of them where we need to put them, based on the predictors of the protection."

If Steele doesn't to that, then they're likely to get stuck with having to pressure to create any kind of rush, which was often the case at times last year.

"The thing about it is, people will say ‘they played nickel here all the time,'" Steele said. "Well, if you play against certain teams, you may be in nickel on every snap. In this league, there are a lot of teams that you're in nickel a lot on. But there are also teams you have to beat that you will not be in nickel."

And that's where Da'Quan Bowers comes into play. Top Stories