Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has made pass defense a point of emphasis, highlighting that as one of the major things the Tigers have to be better at in 2023.
Last season, Clemson ranked 121st nationally in total completions allowed (299), tied for 87th in opponent completion percentage (61.3), 99th in passing yards allowed (3,244), 76th in passing yards per game allowed (231.7), tied for 70th in passing touchdowns allowed (21) and tied for 30th in interceptions (13).
Of course, a big part of defending opponents better through the air will fall on the shoulders of the cornerbacks, and position coach Mike Reed was asked Monday if he feels like the players in his cornerback room are taking things personally and looking at the improvement of pass defense as a personal challenge.
“I don’t know if we’re taking it personal because that’s what we’re supposed to do,” Reed said. “That’s what we signed up for. It’s something I stress all the time. So in my eyes, I don’t want the offense to catch any passes. It’s always been something that’s always been hammered on from day one. They’re DBs. They have the mentality that I’m not giving up anything. That’s the mentality I have and that’s the mentality they have.”
The late, great Kobe Bryant once said that he was chasing perfection and greatness, and that’s the mentality that Reed – a former Boston College and NFL cornerback – has when it comes to coaching his cornerbacks.
“My uncle always tells me, he feels sorry for the players that play for me,” Reed said with a laugh. “Because I’m a competitor. I’m a guy that played the position. So everything that I’m teaching them, I’ve done. Like I said, my mentality is they don’t catch any passes. It’s never good. It’s not good enough. I’m the guy that, as Kobe says, ‘I’m chasing perfection, I’m chasing greatness.’”
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