It is no secret Clemson’s defense under performed in 2022.
A unit that was supposed to be one of the best in college football heading into the season, finished with average numbers in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“Even if we finished as the number one defense in the country, I would still feel that we would have so much room for improvement,” linebacker Barrett Carter said recently. “That is just the mindset we have. We are always striving to get better.”
The fact is the Tigers need to get better if they hope to get back into the College Football Playoff picture in 2023. Last year, Clemson finished fourth in the ACC in points allowed per game (20.9) and sixth in total yards allowed per game (334.4).
The Tigers were sixth in third down defense and seventh in the league in redzone touchdowns allowed.
“We definitely have a lot of things we have to work on,” Carter said. “We just have to watch a lot of film and learn from the mistakes. I am proud of the way we competed last year, but there is always room for improvement.
“We have a long way to go to get to where we want to be, and that is the national championship. So, we just have to watch the film and correct the mistakes.”
The area they need to improve the most is in the secondary. Clemson allowed its opponents to average 231.7 yards per game through the air, while completing 61.3 percent of their passes.
Carter said they did not do what they were supposed to do at times in coverage. It was either bad technique, bad eyes or taking their eyes off their keys.
“Once you lock in on your keys, you’ll be fine,” he said.
In conference play, the Tigers ranked 12th in completion percentage defense, 11th in passing yards allowed and 10th in touchdowns passes allowed.
“At the end of the day, it is about players making plays. So, if Wes (Goodwin) calls a play we just have to run it,” Carter said. “If that is a Cover Zero play with no help, you just have to lock your man up. At the end of the day, it does not matter what Wes calls, we just have to run the call and play it and execute it.
“We have a lot to work on, as a defense, as a whole, but pass defense is something we empathized in the film room. We watched our corrections and what we need to work on. We definitely know that is an area we have to focus on to get better so we can be successful this year.”
Clemson will resume spring practice on Monday. The spring wraps up with Clemson’s Annual Spring Game on April 15.
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