|Defensive tidbits from Saturday's scrimmage|
|by Nikki Steele - Staff Writer - Sunday, August 11, 2013 8:48 AM||
CLEMSON- With only four serviceable defensive backs able to walk and play, the Tigers’ first scrimmage of fall camp was a difficult one for Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
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The Clemson defensive backfield has once again been struck by the injury bug as Darius Robinson, Garry Peters, Mackensie Alexander, Martin Jenkins, and Adrian Baker missed all or part of Saturday’s scrimmage in Death Valley with various injuries.
Venables said that with so many players missing, his defense was very inconsistent at times.
“Too inconsistent for my liking,” Venables said after Saturday’s scrimmage. “Good in some situations and not so good in others. Missing four corners out there and it showed. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
He hopes that the injured players will be back in action because he needs time with them to evaluate their skill levels and prepare them for the upcoming bout with Georgia.
“We’ve been banged up in the secondary and those guys need to practice. If they aren’t practicing, then it’s hard for us to get a lot of things done, let alone improve in an area that needs the most improvement just based on where we were last year as a unit,” Venables said. “Every day that passes is another opportunity lost and that’s very discouraging. It’s not like people mean to get banged up. You just have to get other guys as prepared as you can.”
*Venables has taken notice of some of the young players on his defense that may be tough to keep off the field in 2013.
Linebacker Ben Boulware is physically ready to play, according to Venables.
“I can promise you this: he is ready to contribute,” Venables said. “At what level? I don’t know. If there’s an injury, I don’t think we will have a choice.”
Defensive end Shaq Lawson has been very disruptive during the first six practices of fall camp, including accounting for two sacks in Saturday’s scrimmage
“Disruptive. Instinctive,” Venables said of Lawson. “Likes to compete. Likes to play. Just a disruptive player.”
Venables has also been impressed with freshman defensive back Korrin Wiggins, who hasn’t melted under the pressured
“I like Korrin. He’s one of those guys that hasn’t flinched yet,” Venables said. “He’s physically mature and likes to play. He likes to play, has good instincts, has good ball skills. He’s always got a demeanor to him and good body language. He’s mature for his young age. I think we’ll find that he’ll help us this year if he continues to do what he’s been doing.”
*The linebacker corps may finally be becoming what Brent Venables envisioned when he came two Clemson.
Through six practices, Venables said that it is difficult to tell who is on the first, second and third team at the linebacker position, as all of his linebackers have played really well.
“Between Stephone [Anthony], Quandon [Christian], Tony [Steward], [Spencer] Shuey, Kellen Jones, Ben Boulware, and T.J. Burrell through the first six days of camp, I’ve seen a lot of really good football,” Venables said. “Tough and physical. They can all run and have good instincts. It’s a good group.”
Christian’s 47-yard interception return just shows his continued improvement.
“He had a nice pick out there,” Venables said of Christian. “He’s been pretty good through fall camp. He’s been a good leader and has been consistent.”
*Defensive end Vic Beasley gave the edge to the offense in Saturday’s scrimmage.
“I think the offense had the better edge today,” Beasley said. “They came out and played hard. We did some good things too, but they had more of an effect on the game.”
However, he said that the offense was aided by a few mistakes by the defensive players.
“We’ve just got a good offense,” he said. “We made a few mistakes, some missed alignments. They are good, too, and they make plays too.”
Beasley said that if the defense wants to have the edge on August 31st against Georgia, they need to get in better physical shape.
“I think we played pretty well technique wise, but we need to run more,” he said. “We need to get in better shape before the first game because we were kind of tired out there.”
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