The Clemson coaching staff tagged this year's secondary as the deepest under Swinney's tenure. With potential starting cornerbacks Mario Goodrich and Derion Kendrick both on the "unavailable" list in the season opener, the Tiger secondary was put to the test early.
And they passed.
Wake Forest was able to move the ball with limited success down the stretch after being shutout in the opening half. It was the preparation down the depth chart of Fred Davis, Andrew Booth Jr., and Sheridan Jones and helped the Tigers not miss a beat against the Demon Deacons.
Jones, a sophomore Communications major from Norfolk, Va, picked up his first career start in Winston Salem and finished the game with two tackles. He said it was a good feeling to step up when his number was called Wake Forest and The Citadel.
Courtesy of Clemson's shutout on Saturday, the defense will be treated to donuts today as a treat for giving up zero points in the home opener.
"It felt good just being ready when your name is called," he said on Monday. "We should be expecting some donuts today, I'm looking forward to that, too."
Clemson's Venables Focuses on Different Challenge Against South Carolina Offense
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables faces some unknowns in scheme and personnel when the Tigers (8-3) visit the Gamecocks (6-5) at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Former Tiger Mike Williams Opens Up on South Carolina
While many around the state of South Carolina are busy eating their turkey, the third-ranked Clemson Tigers will be thinking about chicken, as they preparing for their annual post-Thanksgiving matchup with the South Carolina Gamecocks.While the Tigers and Gamecocks are gearing up for their game Saturday (noon, ESPN), former Clemson, Lake Marion Gator and current Los Angeles Charger Mike Williams will be watching the Tigers take on the Gamecocks from his home.
Odds and Ends: Clemson's in Position to End Regular Season with Cover at South Carolina
Clemson enters Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. as an 11.5-point favorite over the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Jones said he's used his preparation this offseason along with advice and things he learned from Atlanta falcons rookie and starting cornerback, A.J. Terrell, to improve his game.
"He taught me a lot of things off the field and on the field. Just always being about your business, putting in extra work. Working on your craft and being a technician at your position,"
Jones said one of his main objectives during the offseason was to work on getting back some of his speed he lost upon arriving at Clemson as a true freshman.
"I think I lost a little bit of my speed because when I came in I was trying to put on weight so fast since I came in so small," Jones said.
But after working at through the spring and summer, he's back to where he was last season but is leaner physically and more confident mentally.
"I'm back to how I was in high school. I got my hips back to better mobility and I'm faster than I was last year. So besides the physical stuff, just getting my confidence back and being the player that I was in high school," he said.