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Starting with NC State, Goodwin hoping to see improvement on defense

Katie Bradham, Photo Editor

Clemson defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin looks on to the field of Memorial Stadium as the Tigers prepare for their game against Louisiana Tech on Sept. 17, 2022.

Clemson’s defense has not performed to the same level as it did in 2021, and defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin knows it.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Goodwin previewed the Tigers’ matchup with No. 10 NC State on Saturday.
Goodwin, a first-year defensive coordinator, acknowledged that there are definitely glaring areas of improvement for the defense, but also for himself when it comes to calling different schemes and adjusting coverages during the game.
“There’s definitely a lot of things I could’ve done different,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin was candid that on film, it was evident big plays were given up from a variety of defensive schemes he called against Wake Forest last week, and there are definitely teachable moments for the younger players in the secondary.
“It seems like every coverage we played, we gave up a big play in,” Goodwin added. “It was one out of each, it seemed like.”
With defensive end Xavier Thomas missing all four of the Tigers’ games to start the season, as well as defensive tackles Bryan Bresee and Tyler Davis missing time, Clemson’s defensive line has yet to be at full strength.
Goodwin added that with the return of key starters, the defensive front can live up to its potential in the coming weeks.
“Hopefully, we can get some continuity in that group,” Goodwin said. “Hopefully, we can start to get the chemistry and continuity going in up front and really start to dominate the line of scrimmage like we’re capable of.”
The inexperience of the secondary was evident in the Wake Forest game, but Goodwin said that he still wants to be a press-man team. He added that even if the corners are getting beat more often than not, the responsibility comes down on him to call the right plays at the correct times.
Putting the Wake Forest game behind him, Goodwin addressed some specific challenges the defense will have to tackle against NC State this week.
“I think their running backs are really, really good — probably the best group we’ll see or have seen up to this point,” Goodwin said. “They run really, really hard and downhill, they have great vision, and that will be a huge challenge in itself.”
“It going to come down to controlling the line of scrimmage and eliminating the run game, as it always does. Making teams be one dimensional, we still have to control the line of scrimmage and eliminate the effectiveness of their running backs and obviously eliminate the big plays downfield.”

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