Clemson- The Clemson Tigers offense is supposed to be one of, if not the best, offenses in all of college football this coming season. The Tiger defense is supposed to be more of an enigma with the Tigers replacing a number of starters along the defensive front.
However, through the spring it was been the defense that pushed the offense more than expected according to co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott.
“The defense is really, really challenging us,” Elliott said. “Brent (Venables) has been very aggressive this spring, challenging his guys to get better. So it has been really, really competitive.”
Even though the defense has been progressing at an impressive pace and providing the offense with a challenge each and every day, for the Tigers defensive coordinator there is still a lot that the Tigers need to improve on before the Tigers play their first game Aug. 29 against Georgia Tech.
“We are doing better than some would have thought,” Venables said. “We have talent so I don't know why people are always surprised when our defense does good things, but I guess that is the story-line. We still have a long way to go, but overall I'm very pleased with the way we have shown up.
“Our job is to get the defense ready to go out and do our job when the first game comes around, are we ready yet? No. But we don't have to be. We are going against one of the best offenses in the country every day and we are doing our best to give them a run for their money.”
For the Tigers offense there is no doubt that the challenge being presented to them each day in practice is good preparation for the grind that the Tigers will face come September if they have any hope of returning to the College Football Playoff and the ultimate prize of the national championship game.
“Obviously, we want to see our guys compete in tough situations,” The Tigers offensive coordinator said, “I’m really proud of how they competed, but we are really focusing in on the turnovers and the simple things that we can control, which is the fundamentals.”
Regardless of whether the defense or the offense comes out on top at the end of the spring nobody in the country is going to doubt that the offense will be just fine. And maybe the bigger story will be that this defense will be pretty good in and of itself—at least that is the hope of the players.
“Going against Trevor Lawrence every day you are bound to get better,” Tiger defensive end KJ Henry said. “You have to get better or else you are going to get exposed. You have to bring your best to the field every day because you know that's what the offense is going to do. It's our job to make them better, and it's their job to make us better with the hope that by the time the season comes around you don't want to face either one (the offense or the defense).”