Something special

CLEMSON - After Saturday's scrimmage in Death Valley, three areas concern Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.

"We have to keep bringing our safeties along, we have to keep bringing our linebackers along and we have to stay healthy up front," he said.

With a slew of talent on the defensive line, Steele believes that losing a couple of guys to injuries could really affect what most agree to be the strength of Tigers' defense.

"We've got a good number of those guys, but you can get thin up there in a hurry. We've got to keep those guys healthy," he said.
For a defense that gave up no touchdowns on Saturday, Da'Quan Bowers and Ricky Sapp shined, registering three sacks and two sacks, respectively. Malliciah Goodman also had two, although tackling the quarterback was not permitted, which Coach Dabo Swinney said prevents quarterbacks from truly showing their elusiveness.

Willy Korn said a couple were coverage sacks, a compliment to the secondary's work. Seeing Bowers and Sapp in practice and not in live games is something he's come to be thankful for since Bowers' arrival last year.

"Those guys are freaks," he said. "They're going to cause a lot of problems for opposing offenses this year."

Kyle Parker said the offensive line started well but tired out towards the end of the scrimmage, another credit to the duo from Bamberg.

"Our ends are fast. Those two guys, you don't find two like that around too often," he said.

As the battle for right tackle on offense continues, offensive coordinator Billy Napier said it's difficult to get a solid read on anyone at the position when they're practicing against the Clemson defensive ends.

"When you have a bad day, it shows up. Those guys have to have a good day against that crowd to in order to just survive," he said.

Brandon Maye also stood out on Saturday, leading the team with seven tackles. Not one to keep track of his stats, Maye was surprised to hear that he had the high number of tackles.

It's a role that he relishes—being the team's top tackler.

"Everyday I just want to come out and be that playmaker. I want to be that guy that coach Steele and Coach Swinney can depend on," Maye said. "That guy who flies around and makes plays."

During the scrimmage, Maye believed the defense did a good job of flying around, trying to get to the ball and cause a turnover. All week focus on Saturday was the topic of conversation amongst the players and coaches on defense. That also, Maye said, was a positive to take away from Saturday.

Sadat Chambers started at free safety on Saturday although Marcus Gilchrist was the starter in Tuesday's scrimmage. Rashard Hall and Jonathan Meeks have been working at the safety positions on the second team.

"They're young. Boy, they've made a lot of progress. Charlie Harbison has done a great job with bringing those guys along," Steele said. "They've come along really fast…we've got the right guys. We just have to keep getting better." Top Stories