Wes Goodwin knows his first season as Clemson’s defensive coordinator could have gone better. Granted, it was not necessarily a bad year for the Tigers’ defenders, but it was not the one they were expecting either.
Clemson’s defense, considering who it had returning and the goals they personally set for themselves, underachieved in 2022. There is no other way to put it, and no one knows that better than Goodwin.
“It has been a huge growing experience for me. Just looking back, my self-evaluation, how can I install things better,” he said. “How can I be a better teacher? How can I make things better and put our guys in a more advantageous position with each play?”
The Tigers’ numbers were just okay in 2022. With the exception of their 111 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, which led the ACC, everything else was not up to Clemson’s standards.
Clemson ranked sixth in the ACC in total yards allowed per game (334.4). It was fourth in average points per game (20.9) and third in rushing yards allowed per contest (102.7).
The Tigers ranked eighth against the pass, sixth in third down conversions allowed and seventh in red zone defense.
In other words, the Clemson defense has some improving to do. Through the first seven practices this spring, head coach Dabo Swinney has seen some growth in his young defensive play caller.
“Like anything, anytime you get a little experience and do some things you get better and better,” Swinney said.
Swinney has faith that Goodwin is going to be a great defensive coordinator.
“He is really talented. He is really gifted. He really understands things,” the Clemson head coach said. “He has done a great job. He has great confidence to him and a great command of the room.”
What has Swinney excited about the upcoming season on defense is how well the defensive staff is working together.
“The biggest thing is the staff is really together and on the same page,” he said. “I am really pleased with that, so it has been good work to this point. He has done a nice job.”
Also coaching Clemson’s linebackers, Goodwin feels he has improved as a teacher and as a football coach. He also feels like he has grown as coordinator and leader.
“Everybody understands the big picture from a staff viewpoint,” he said. “Just getting everyone on the same page and knowing how everybody thinks. I am excited about this season and really how we have grown as a staff.”
The Tigers have the next week off for spring break. They will resume spring workouts on March 27.
Clemson’s Annual Orange and White Spring Game will be held on April 15 at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
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