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Clemson Football

Reed says secondary 'hungry', special teams has 'open opportunites'

March 17, 2023
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The Clemson secondary allowed big passing plays and the special teams committed turnovers and missed scoring opportunities in losses to South Carolina and No. 6 Tennessee in the Orange Bowl. 

Clemson cornerbacks/special teams coach Mike Reed answered questions about last season and expectations for the upcoming season on Monday. 

On if he's noticed the players practicing like next season needs to be better than 2022: 

"The bar and the standard here is high. Kids understand that when they come here, they're coming here with a purpose. They want to win championships. And so when you don't get to what you really want, you got to come back and you got to fix it.

"So these guys are hungry. They want to win. They're willing to compete. Guys are really going after it. The young kids have really come in and have some leadership qualities, and it's very pleasing to see that."

On having versatile defender Malcolm Greene, who missed seven games, healthy and what his role will be in the secondary: 

"Malcolm is back to Malcolm his freshman year. He's healthy. He has that light in his eye. He's that pace car. He's a guy that's going to bring a lot of excitement to practice, and you see it. He made a couple of plays the other day, and he was letting the world know he made the play. That's Malcolm -- a great kid, great energy. I'm happy and excited that he's finally healthy.

"He's played a lot of nickel in previous years, and so we're giving him a shot to play corner to see what he can do."

On having experienced cornerback Sheridan Jones, a graduate senior, back:

"To have all those guys back -- to have a guy with starting experience. He's seen a lot of things so things won't be very new to him because he's seen it all. He's been through the fire. And so it's promising because now young guys can have that mentor, that leader they can follow."

On Jeadyn Lukus (six tackles and an interception in 2022) postponing his shoulder surgery to participate in a few practices this spring:

"The kid's a tough kid. He doesn't say much. He just goes to work with a hard hat on and goes to work. You like that because you know he's going to give it all he's got and at the end of the day, that's what you want as a coach. He doesn't want to be that guy sitting on the sideline. He wants to play."

On what Toriano Pride, who played 333 snaps in 2022, learned from his freshmen campaign:

"Coach is not a liar. Because a lot of these kids, you tell them that they may play or don't have the opportunity to play as a freshman. And they think ah, that's just recruiting talk. But I tell these kids, I'm not wasting my time to come and recruit you If I don't want you to play. I could die tomorrow. I want to see you play today.

"One of the things I tell my kids. Hey, you come to work every day. You do what you're supposed to do. [If] your name is not on any list.-- and you compete-- you'll play. We had some injuries, and he had to play more than I thought he would. He stepped up to the challenge. It was good for him. So now, this year, I don't have to worry about him having that freshman jitters. He's ready to go."

On making steps to improve special teams:

"Well, there’s a couple of games last year we lost because of special teams, and we've got to get better. We've got to get more consistent. We got to find a solid kicker. A solid punter. We lost some guys and so there's an open opportunity for them to step up and be the guy that we trust.

"Who's going to be the guy? Is it going to be a walk-on? Is it going to be a scholarship player? But everybody will have an opportunity."

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Reed says secondary 'hungry', special teams has 'open opportunites'

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