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Thursday, April 11, 2013
Clemson's Vic Beasley finds a home at DE

By Andrea Adelson

CLEMSON, S.C. -- When he arrived at Clemson, Vic Beasley had no real position. He was recruited as an athlete, so coaches promptly told him he would start out at tight end.

That lasted a year.

Then coaches told him he would be moved to linebacker.

Logan Thomas
Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley, 3, had eight sacks in just 288 plays as a backup last season.
That lasted a year.

Then coaches told him he would be moved to defensive end. His reaction?

"I was like, 'I really don’t want to move again' because I really wanted to stay at one position and I really liked linebacker," Beasley said. "I was like, 'I guess it will work out' and I bought into the defensive end position and here I am."

Here he is one year later, and Beasley is not going anywhere. Not after a breakout season at end in 2012, in which he tallied eight sacks in just 288 plays as a backup.

Not after a pretty dominating spring, in which he has scored on at least two interception returns. He racked up four sacks in the last scrimmage before the spring game Saturday.

Coach Dabo Swinney referred to Beasley's move from linebacker to defensive end as a "science experiment" because coaches were not sure whether it would work. Now, Beasley is set to join the starting lineup, hoping to give the Tigers a consistent pass-rushing threat.

"I’m unaware why he called it a science experiment," Beasley said. As a follow-up, I asked Beasley why he made this transition work.

"I guess I just bought into what they were trying to get done, just went out there and gave my all and focused during practice and during meetings," he said. "I think it’s been a blessing overall because the things that I really learned at tight end, I could use at defensive end, too, so it’s all tied into each other. And from linebacker, my explosiveness I can use at the defensive end position."

Beasley still has a ways to go. Coaches want him to get up to 250 pounds after playing last year at 225. They want to see how he handles more responsibility as a starter, as opposed to just being a role player. And they want him to grow his football knowledge with another year playing the same position.

"He’still learning, trying to develop a foundation of football, what it means to be a football player, how you study the game, how you go to practice every day, compete, where you put your eyes and how you get in a stance," defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. "He had to start from the ground up, literally.

"He’s better, and as much as anything he’s more consistent with his attitude. He’s competitive. He’s attempting to gain weight that he needs. That’s going to help him be a more powerful, disruptive and productive player. I think he’s starting to understand how to watch video and how to critique himself, and I think he’s holding himself to a different level of accountability. Can he continue to do that the rest of spring and into the summer and into fall camp? We hope so."