Clemson Defense Gets Opportunity to Prove Itself vs. FSU

Clemson’s defense isn’t settling for success the last two weeks.

Despite allowing under 370 total yards combined against Charleston Southern and Florida Atlantic, the Tigers’ stop unit heads into the massive Florida State showdown with a chip on its shoulder. 

“I still feel like we’ve got a lot to prove because people don’t really think we’ve done anything yet,” Clemson starting safety R.J. Mickens said. “We still need to prove a lot, I feel like. This is going to be a great opportunity to do that.”

Mickens feels like the defense has improved from last year as they took the coaching and the criticism to heart after some struggles, especially in the secondary, in 2022. 

This week, that opportunity to show improvement comes against an FSU offense that’s averaging 47.3 points per game and nearly 463 yards per game. 

“It’s a great challenge for us as a secondary in general and as a defense as a whole,” Mickens said. “They’ve got playmakers at all those positions and a quarterback that really makes you stay on top of your game.”

Here’s what else Mickens had to say about his teammates, the FSU challenge and more on Tuesday:

  • On playing QB Jordan Travis last year: “He’s a really great competitor and he didn’t give up. That shows a lot about their program and what they’re made of.”
  • On Clemson’s freshmen class: “They just care a lot. They’re ready. Those guys came in ready and hungry and really picked up on the defense well. Their knowledge of the game, their love, their passion, it’s been amazing to watch honestly.”
  • On the mindset against FSU: “We always expect to win. We play to a standard, not to an opponent.”

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