It’s scary to think Clemson’s defense is ‘only getting better’

It’s scary to think Clemson’s defense is ‘only getting better’


It’s scary to think Clemson’s defense is ‘only getting better’


Clemson heads into Saturday night’s game against Boston College attempting to do something that has not been done since 1954 – limiting an eighth straight opponent to under 300 yards of total offense.

It is an incredible statistic, especially in this day and age when offenses spread out a defense and throw the football all over the yard.

“We preach on being consistent and I feel like we have been doing that all season,” safety K’Von Wallace said. “The scary thing is we are only getting better. We have a lot of corrections to make, but we are a scary defense to compete with.”

Not taking anything away from what the 1954 defense accomplished, but the football was not thrown as much 65 years ago as it is in today’s college football.

Nevertheless, those Tigers held Presbyterian, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Florida, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Furman and Maryland under 300 yards in the first eight games. Auburn finally broke the streak with 326 total yards in Game 9.

So far this season, Clemson (7-0, 5-0 ACC) has opened the year with seven straight games in which it held the opposition under 300 total yards. The Tigers held Georgia Tech to 294, Texas A&M to 289, Syracuse to 187, Charlotte to 216, North Carolina to 290, Florida State to 253 and Louisville to 263.

The Tigers rank third nationally in total defense (256.0 yds/game), third in pass defense (144.1 yds/game), third in pass percentage defense (49.0), third in passer rating (94.3), fifth in sacks (28), sixth in interceptions (10), sixth in touchdown passes allowed (5), eighth in total touchdowns allowed (10), eighth in tackles for loss (58) and eighth in scoring defense (12.0 pts/game). The list can go on and on.

“I believe this can be a special defense,” Wallace said. “We have a great coach who strives to be the best. Each and every year, he starts all over and he pushes us to get the best out of us. With us being a mature defense with great leadership on the back end, it has also helped us on the defensive side.

“That experience we have on the back end is definitely big for us. I believe that. I believe the defense can only be better.”

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables admitted he wasn’t sure what he would have this year after losing four of the best defensive linemen to arguably play the game. The Tigers had to replace Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant, four guys who were All-Americans and are now playing in the NFL.

However, the guys returning from last year’s No. 1 ranked scoring defense, felt they could be just as good or better than last year’s unit, despite all the losses up front and at linebacker.

“Each and every year you have to start over,” Wallace said. “But that does not mean you lose hope, or you lose faith. You come each and every year knowing you are going to be the best. If you don’t have that right mindset then you don’t need to be playing for our defense.

“Each and every year we start over, but we want the best for each and every player in each and every game.”

And so far, they have received the best from a lot of different players.

“It is not that big of a drop off in my opinion,” Wallace said. “Through the first seven games we did better than last year’s team. But it is our ability to play as a team, as a collective unit and just the fact that we can continue to get better is really scary.”

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