Wes Goodwin: What did he learn from Year One coaching the Clemson defense?
Most Clemson fans probably remember their reactions when they heard that Goodwin was taking over the defense from his predecessor Brent Venables. Who is Wes Goodwin? This is the guy to follow Venables? Someone who has never been an on-the-field coach?
Never underestimate Swinney’s ability to sell and close the deal. He sold us on Goodwin by telling us how he was their mastermind behind the scenes. That NFL teams had been trying to get him. That Venables himself tried to take him to Oklahoma. Then the players voice their support.
Year One under Goodwin wasn’t bad, by any stretch of the imagination. There were bright spots. Barrett Carter and Jeremiah Trotter emerged as major players.
Some things were beyond anyone’s control. Injuries were again a factor. Brian Bresee was impacted by a death in the family and illness.
The cold, hard truth is that the Clemson defense took a definable step backward in 2022. The secondary was often caught unprepared and the defense didn’t play well with the lead. At least a couple of times last season they just failed to show up at all.
Several people noted how different Goodwin was when the staff met with the media in July. Observers said he felt more relaxed, comfortable and confident. Goodwin in 2023 knows what Goodwin in 2022 didn’t know. He has been through a season as the coordinator now. He knows what to expect.
If you learned anything from Swinney selling you on Goodwin last year, it is that he is a strategist. Goodwin should have a better understanding of what he is facing as he approaches 2023. His strategy should take a step up in Year 2.