Clemson lost several key pieces from last year’s secondary, including starting cornerback A.J. Terrell, starting safeties Tanner Muse and K’Von Wallace, and reserve safety Denzel Johnson.
While replacing those players won’t be easy for the Tigers, redshirt junior cornerback LeAnthony Williams believes the personnel Clemson has in the secondary heading into this season is up to the task.
Williams told reporters following Thursday’s practice that the secondary made good progress during spring practice and fall camp. Although largely inexperienced with a number of young players expected to step into bigger roles, Williams believes since fall camp began, the secondary has been as good or better than last season.
“We haven’t really played a lot of ball on the field, but I just feel like as we came here during the spring and this fall camp, a lot of space was picked up between that time,” Williams said. “So, I feel like the guys we have now are just as good, if not better, since we started fall camp. So, I feel like right now, we’re in a good spot with the secondary guys. Everybody’s looked good, everybody’s moving fast, so I feel like that’s a plus for us on this side of the year.”
There has been plenty of competition in practice amongst the players in the secondary, and Williams says the group is trying to maintain a good attitude and build each other up regardless of whether someone makes a good play or a bad one.
“We go out there every day with a mindset, like we just want to compete,” Williams said. “We just all want to have fun. I feel like within our back seven, a guy makes a play, I feel like all of us should be happy for them. Just going out there and keeping the mindset positive. If a guy does make a bad play, we all have to keep him up, and if they make a good play, we’re going to hype them up even more. So, I feel like in this secondary, we’re all making plays, so we all keep each other up and try to keep the best positive mindset for sure.”
For Williams – a former consensus top-250 prospect from Atlanta credited with 10 career tackles in 151 snaps over 18 career games at Clemson – he is focused on the finer points of his game as he gets ready for the 2020 campaign.
“Camp has been great. I just kind of come out here with the same mindset – every day is the first practice,” Williams said. “Just being as physical as I can. Just really having a positive mindset every day. Really just working on my craft, just working on the little things, going over the plays after practice. Just everyday things, just little stuff. I’m just trying to be a better player for my teammates, really, so that’s what I’m trying to do.”
— photo courtesy Clemson Athletic Communications
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