Clemson Defensive Coordinator Wes Goodwin Pleased After Wednesday’s Scrimmage

Wes Goodwin likes what he sees from the Clemson defense.

The Tigers’ third-year defensive coordinator spoke to the media following Wednesday morning’s scrimmage, and as spring practice begins to wind down, Goodwin feels like his defense is in a good place.

“I’m really pleased with where we are at defensively,” said Goodwin. “I always talk about exposure versus exposed in spring ball and you’re either trending in the right direction or trying to get in that circle of trust. I’m really pleased with the growth over the last three weeks with all three levels of our defense and a lot of the guys have done a lot of really good things.”

Wes Goodwin

Goodwin has been pleased to see some of Clemson’s young defensive players get good reps and exposure while they wait in the wings for their turn to lead the charge.

“We’ve got guys down the line getting a lot of really good exposure and some good teaching moments,” he said. “A lot of opportunities to progress.”

One of the young players who is already at the forefront of the Tigers’ defense is true freshman Sammy Brown. Goodwin was asked about Brown’s progression through his first spring, and how the projected impact freshman is adjusting to the speed of the college game.

“Every day he has gotten better,” Goodwin said. “Playing linebacker in today’s world is a lot to process and a lot to learn. Early on, you know, you see the wheels turning and how things are slowing down. He’s becoming more fluid. More comfortable and more confident quarterbacking the defense and running the show out there when he’s getting his opportunity.”

Wes Goodwin

Goodwin added that Brown has made multiple plays during Clemson’s spring scrimmages and reiterated the 5-star recruit from Jefferson, GA continues to get better each day. He also said other young players like Ricardo Jones, Noah Dixon, Champ Thompson, and Tavoy Feagin have made great strides throughout the spring as well.

A returning player on the Clemson defense who burst onto the scene as a true freshman in 2023 is Peter Woods. The former consensus 5-star defensive tackle is transitioning to defensive end this spring and Goodwin likes what he sees out of the rising sophomore.

“(Peter) is one that gives you position versatility,” stated Goodwin. “If you go back and look at our season last year, at times we played bigger guys on the edge as well. That’s always been a philosophy of mine, with all the (defensive) line guys I work with, big guys beat little guys all day, every day. Having big guys on the edge to set the edge in the run game, that’s how we get attacked most of the time because we’ve been so good inside. (Peter) is productive. He’s physical and efficient as a pass rusher.”

Wes Goodwin

At middle linebacker, Goodwin is happy with how Wade Woodaz has progressed, and said he needs consistent reps to continue getting better. He appreciates what a vocal leader Woodaz has become, especially helping the younger linebackers.

When asked what the biggest or most exciting surprise of the spring has been, he said it was the next step taken by many of last year’s young stars who broke through into key roles on the defense. Watching them blossom into full-fledged stars has been rewarding for Wes Goodwin.

“I feel like a lot of guys, the young guys who played a lot of ball for us last year, they’ve taken the next step,” Goodwin stated. “That’s not necessarily a surprise but it’s always a good thing. Some guys, how do they handle success? That’s been really cool and the biggest surprise for me has been there are no surprises. I feel like we have a lot of guys who are hungry, a lot of guys who show up with the right mindset every day to get better, unselfish guys, so I wouldn’t say there are any surprises right now.”

Wes Goodwin

Clemson is projected to have one of the best defenses in the country once again during the 2024 season. Wes Goodwin is entering his third season at the helm of that defense, and while he feels good about where things stand, he also knows there is always room to get better. The goal between now and August is to bring out the very best in a talented unit that will command the respect of everyone they line up against.

“You’re never where you want to be,” added Goodwin. “But I feel like we’re in a really good spot. I’m confident we can put together a really good product this year and be really good defensively. I’m really happy where we’re at from a front seven standpoint and back seven standpoint. A lot to iron out before game one but that’s what spring practice and summer is for.”

More Posts


Stay up-to-date with all things Clemson sports by visiting Clemson Sports Media, your one-stop website for everything Clemson. We provide post-game interviews, in-depth analysis, and comprehensive coverage of all Clemson sports. Don’t miss out on the latest news and updates, visit Clemson Sports Media today.