The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

Clemson football 2018 linebacker preview

Clemson’s big strength on defense is its defensive line and everyone knows it. What they don’t always realize is that their linebackers are almost as good. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables runs a hybrid 4-3 defense, which means the base look is four defensive linemen, three linebackers and four defensive backs. It’s a hybrid though because he uses the base look less than the scheme calls for and uses his strong-side linebacker as a third defensive back. This is very similar to how the Seattle Seahawks vaunted Legion of Boom operated from 2012-2016. 

Most of the starters return except Dorian O’Daniel. O’Daniel led the linebackers in tackles last year and played on the strong side which means the Tigers essentially lost two positions on defense. Throw in that he was the special teams captain and his graduation is incredibly significant to two phases of team.

Isaiah Simmons is currently slotted to take his place, which makes sense since he bulked up in the off season and played safety last year. Hunter Renfrow has been going up against him for most of camp and Simmons has handled the senior well. Simmons’ biggest hurdle will probably be making sure he knows who his man is since his position has the most variety in assignments.

Junior Tre Lamar started camp as the second-string middle linebacker, but is perfectly healthy now and back atop the depth chart. His block-shedding has gotten better as well as his ability to read the offense, important for this position. 

Senior Kendall Joseph has been moved to the middle linebacker slot from the weak side which was a surprise even though Lamar was not considered full strength to play. His old position will instead be filled by graduate J.D. Davis. Davis spent time at the WILL position last year when Lamar went out, but so did junior James Skalski. Both of these guys could see significant playing time this year. 

Clemson linebackers have had plenty of star power in recent years, and although this year doesn’t necessarily feature a clear leader, all of the positions will be held down by experienced playmakers who know Venables’ defense. Injuries aside, this should be another year of strong and dependable linebacker play.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *