Linebacker Trenton Simpson was back in action last week following missing the Louisville game due to an ankle injury. The junior was back in the Sam position this week, which he hasn’t played in since his sophomore season.
Simpson had been playing the Will position this season prior to the Miami game, but after seeing what both linebackers Jeremiah Trotter Jr. and Barrett Carter did on the field against Louisville, defensive coordinator Wesley Goodwin made the switch against Miami.
Simpson spoke to the media on Tuesday ahead of this week’s rivalry game against South Carolin and shared that it felt very natural to be playing the Sam position again. After playing both his freshman and sophomore seasons at the position, he felt he had the confidence to make the adjustment at this point in the season.
“It felt very natural,” he said. “I had a fun time being able to go out there and fly around, but it definitely felt super natural and I felt like I was doing what I did in my freshman and sophomore year all over again.”
The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder shared that the position switch started as an idea he mentioned to his coaches, but now to him, it feels right to stay in the Sam position for the remainder of the season.
“It all started off as like a small idea, but I talked to my coaches about it and we just wanted to take a chance and see how I look,” he said. “I definitely enjoyed it and I know I will continue to play that sometime in my career. I think Sam is my move right now so far.”
The North Carolina native shared that ultimately he wants to play where can best support the team. In the win over Miami, Simpson had a career-high-tying two sacks and a forced fumble. With such a natural performance, it seems he felt very confident fulfilling that role for the Clemson defense.
“Sam is a natural position and that’s what I did my first two years,” he said. “I just trust in my coaches, and wherever they feel I can help the team win, I went out there and did that and did my best at it.”
Having Simpson back at the Sam position displays that the Clemson linebacker corps is dynamic. He shared that the defense is becoming more balanced, and that’s helping the team perform better each week.
“It was definitely an adjustment,” he said. “It wasn’t too much really hard, I think just putting more time and preparation into it and continue to get better. Just having players who can fill that role, we all have a balanced defense that can go out there and continue to perform. And what we’re doing on defense, I think it will work it.”
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