Monday, August 4, 2014 10:10 PM
Practice Report: Venables on position battles, freshmen linebackers
by David Hood
Senior Writer

CLEMSON – Practice number three is in the books for the Clemson football team, a practice that was moved indoors following an afternoon thunderstorm, and we have plenty of news and nuggets to report.

The Tigers worked out in shells, which means the team was in shoulder pads, helmets and shorts. Known as a “thud practice”, the Tigers will be in the same attire on Tuesday, then go to full pads for the fifth practice on Wednesday. The Tigers will not have two practices in the same day until Friday.

Let’s start with the offensive line – you remember Zach Riggs, the son of former Clemson tight end Jim Riggs. Jim lettered four times (1983-86) at Clemson and was a First-Team All-ACC tight end in 1985 and 1986 and played seven seasons (1987-93) in the NFL with the Bengals and Redskins . Zach came to Clemson as a tight end, but many thought he would outgrow that position. He red-shirted last season, and suffered an injury to his kneecap in the spring. However, he is finally healthy and has been taking snaps at third-team center.

*Joe Gore told us that he has been getting most of the first team reps at right tackle, and freshman Maverick Morris has been seeing the most snaps at second team. With Shaq Anthony out for the season opener, right tackle will be a position watched closely during fall practice.

*Jordan Leggett told us that he is proud of the fact that he weighs 250 pounds, and that he has been working on his blocking so he can be more of a dual-threat. However, he said something that was intriguing – he mentioned with a sly grin that he might not be locked in as a true tight end during some snaps this season, saying that he and Stanton Seckinger might see time as wide receivers.

The fact that Clemson has running backs that can catch the football simply opens up the playbook for offensive coordinator Chad Morris. Morris might not have Sammy Watkins or Nuk Hopkins, but he might have the most complete group of targets he’s had since he’s been at Clemson.

*Seckinger left practice on the back of a golf cart, his ankle wrapped in ice. Backup wide receiver Seth Ryan, the son of New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, suffered a broken collarbone in practice and will be out for a while, according to the school.

Brent Venables

On Kellen Jones

“I think he has looked pretty good. I think he has done well. He is still in a yellow jersey which means he isn’t at full speed, but we haven’t tackled anybody yet. His change of direction has been really good. There hasn’t been a lot of swelling, and we have a lot of depth there so we don’t have to have him out there every snap.”

On whether we will see Vic Beasley playing more like a linebacker than last season

“I think last season when you saw him in a two-point stance he was out on the edge. You see that against the spread in the running game, and we put Corey Crawford there. If you look back at tape of Oklahoma, I have done that for years and years. I think in the spread game, those guys are more like outside linebackers and the game is out on the perimeter. The first thing they do against an option team or a zone-read team is on the snap they stand up and now they are in a two-point stance and we feel like that gives them an advantage. You see a lot of quick throws and a lot of bubbles. It gets them in more of a ready position and eliminates steps in the progression.”

On the freshman linebackers

“I like all of three of our young freshmen – Chris Register and Kendall Joseph and Korie Rogers. All three of those guys have showed they have instincts and they are physical. They all move pretty good and have a good level of football intelligence and have good football size already. They have a bright future because they also have high football intelligence.”


Venables said that he likes the battle at nickel-SAM and that Travis Blanks and Korrin Wiggins are in a battle there.

“The battle is good. Just how you want it as a coach. Having a group of guys that can run and hit and have instincts and are tough. Travis has the most experience at that position but it’s a good battle but it’s fun to watch. But when it’s all said and done I think we will have more than one guy that will play there for us.”

On Stephone Anthony

"He wants to be great. Those aren't just words. He's out there with his hair on fire every day. He's willing to pay the price. He's completely bought in. To me, it doesn't get any better than him."

David Hood can be reached at davidhood@tigernet.com