The Clemson defense enters year #2 in Kevin Steele’s system. After Derek Dooley’s attempt to lure Steele to join the Tennessee staff, Clemson responded by giving Steele a $200,000 raise.
Steele, who now earns $575,000 per season, is cautiously optimistic about his defensive unit as the season quickly approaches.
Steele told The Post and Courier, "There's no area where we're depleted. We've got a list we made collectively as a defensive staff and gave to Coach Swinney that basically says that these are the guys that we feel like we can count on, that they know their jobs and they're working hard to do their jobs.”
"We've got another list of guys that still need to get some things done with, but that's not to say we're not getting great effort from them and they're not good players. A lot of those guys just have not seen as many pitches. So we're kind of there."
Clemson opens with North Texas and Presbyterian, before traveling to Auburn.
“We watch film after a game, and if there's a big play everybody in the room can say, 'That happened because we didn't, not because they did.' Very rarely does it happen because of what they did."
In 2009, Clemson finished 67th in the country in rushing defense, but 20th overall in total defense. The Tigers played in the ACC championship game and defeated Kentucky in the Music City Bowl.