The topic of simplicity within Clemson’s defense under first-year coordinator Wesley Goodwin is being rehashed early in preseason camp, though Keith Maguire doesn’t want anyone to get it twisted on exactly what that means.
“He’s not a dummy, and he knows you need to have different defense with different groups that can run out there and compete with different offenses,” Clemson’s junior linebacker said of Goodwin. “He’s very smart, and I’m sure there won’t be an offense that we can’t scheme for differently just the way Coach V did.”
In other words, the Tigers plan on having just as many plays, packages and looks on defense under Goodwin as they did under Oklahoma coach Brent Venables, who was known for the intricacies, complexities and ultra-late play calls during his decade-long run as Clemson’s defensive coordinator. Goodwin said during the spring there are even more wrinkles he plans on implementing that Venables doesn’t know about.
Still, Goodwin wanted to simplify things a bit, though it had nothing to do with the playbook. At least, not the volume of it. Having gone through a spring and nearly a full week of preseason camp with Goodwin calling the defensive shots, Maguire said the clearness is in Goodwin’s vernacular compared to that of Venables.
“Obviously Coach V was a very intense person, the way he coached and taught everything,” said Maguire, who’s vying to step in for the departed James Skalski at middle linebacker. “And I think for some people, they can understand it more. Coach V talked a lot in football terms, and if you didn’t understand it, then sometimes it might have taken you a little longer to understand what he’s trying to say. Wes kind of simplifies the way he talks and explains things, so I think the young guys have a better opportunity to learn a little bit faster.
“It wasn’t until my third year where I could really, in the meetings, completely understand what Coach V wants, and when you understand them, you realize how smart he is with everything he does. But Wes, his speaking terms and the way he communicates, is just a little different.”
Maguire described Goodwin as an analytical person who’s “more scientific” in his explanations of how things are supposed to work within the structure of the defense.
“In the playbook, he explains it a lot as numbers and things like that,” Maguire said. “And I think it’s easier, when you don’t understand all the terms, to look at it as a map or a puzzle almost and kind of fill it in. So I wouldn’t say the defense is that (much) more simplified. Just the way he explains it to you and shows you on the paper maybe a little different so that you kind of visualize a little bit more and go out there and understand what you’re doing.”
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