Clemson's defense will look strikingly different this season but the Tigers are hoping to continue their recent success against option offenses.
Despite a major shuffle of the starting lineup which included the absence of CB Mario Goodrich, DE Justin Foster, and CB Derion Kendrick, the Tiger defense overall played a clean game in the season opener against Wake Forest with nine players making their first career start.
Clemson hopes to be closer to full strength Saturday, although defensive coordinator Brent Venables said he is unsure of who will be back that was unavailable by the end of the week. Regardless of that, Venables said Clemson will be prepared.
"We're going to have our guys ready, without question," Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said during his media availability on Monday. "Comfortable is usually not a word that we use with the option offense and there's a lot of work to do."
Every year there appears to be personnel turnover of some degree on the defensive side of the ball and this year is no different. The Tigers have some familiar faces filling the voids, but also some very new faces contributing as well.
"We have to start at ground zero," Venables said. "It's great when you have guys that have been there and you know experienced it and have been exposed to it. We certainly have some guys that have not, so we have to bridge the gap for a number of other players."
Uiagalelei, Clemson Offense Looking to Take Momentum Into Hostile Environment Against Gamecocks
DJ Uiagalelei is looking forward to his first opportunity to take part in the rivalry matchup between Clemson and South Carolina.
Mike Williams Scores Game Winner, Isaiah Simmons Keeps Winning
A look at some players from Clemson who excelled in week 11 of the NFL season.
If You Like Clemson, You're Probably Not Going to Like Columbia
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney talks recruiting battles with the rival Gamecocks ahead of the 2021 Palmetto Bowl set to take place this weekend in Columbia.
Venables said all the preparation into preparing for an option offense begins with the coaching staff.
'We've got to get sharpened up as coaching staff, first. Be teachers of the game and getting them to buy into what they have to do," Venables said.
Clemson is prepared for what will be another unique challenge Saturday in the home opener against The Citadel. But unlike in the opener against Wake Forest, the Tigers will have current film on its opponent. Clemson Offensive Coordinator Tony Elliott has already reached out to former Clemson Co-OC/WR coach Jeff Scott who led his USF Bulls to victory over The Citadel on Saturday to congratulate Scott on the win and bounce ideas off each other.
"It is going to be a challenge and as coaches, you love that," Venables said. It is a unique challenge as we all know and one that I know our guys will be excited about."
You can follow us for future coverage by clicking "Follow" on the top righthand corner of the page.