By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele told members of the media after practice Tuesday that he has seen flashes of greatness from the highly touted group of defensive players Clemson picked up during the 2011 recruiting year, however he believes it’s the veterans who are leading the way.
“After four days of practice, the older group of guys like seemed to pick up where they left off last season,” Steele said. “They’re communicating, and playing responsibly.”
Steele mentioned names such as Rennie Moore, Jonathan Meeks, Xavier Brewer, Rashard Hall, Corico Hawkins and Malliciah Goodman and Andre Branch as a group of guys that have led by example so far this fall.
As for freshmen?
“I see flashes every once in a while,” Steele said. “But then you also see the complexity of what we’re doing right now, and they’ll get bogged down in too big of a thought process. But they’ll come along that’s the game.”
Steele joked that instead of answering the same question about the freshmen every time he’s faced with it, he should just hold up a sign that reads:
“The freshmen are exemplifying the traits and skills that we thought they had when we recruited them.”
But how are they adapting to the new pace of college football and the information that they’re getting and processing?
“They’re doing that like a typical freshman,” Steele said. “They have spurts that are real good and then they’ll make a freshman mistake.”
A lot talk amongst Clemson fans this offseason has been centered around a possible change in scheme for Clemson’s defense, but Steele set the record straight on Tuesday that they will still be same Clemson defense they were in years past, they’re just experimenting.
“Experimenting means we still have our day jobs, we’re just experimenting at night.” Steele said. “We aren’t throwing everything out from last season; there are just a few wrinkles in there that we need to straighten out.”
As for the first day in full pads Wednesday? Steele doesn’t believe it is a significant day, because it’s not a scrimmage.
“In terms of contact level, it’s no different than it was today,” Steele said. “I don’t believe there’ll be too big of a difference but we’ll see.”