|Venables sees the good in Saturday's effort despite yardage and point numbers|
|by David Hood - Senior Writer - Tuesday, September 3, 2013 5:22 PM||
CLEMSON – Clemson’s defense surrendered 545 total yards of offense and 35 points to Georgia Saturday, and many fans were thinking it was just more of the same from Tiger defenders.
However, defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
View Full Profile thinks many of Clemson’s defensive players turned the corner in the shootout against the Bulldogs, saying he saw plenty of good to go along with the bad.
“It was the best game he has played since I have been here,” Venables told the media Tuesday. “He was excellent. I really felt he was aggressive and sure of himself. A whole bunch of guys did, really. But there are a lot of guys you just loved. I loved how physical we played and the effort we played with. That gives you a start. I think they were that way because they earned that right to feel that way. Guys like B.J. GoodsonB.J. Goodson
RS So. Linebacker
#44 6-0, 240
View Full Profile came in there and he was stoning people and was in good position. Guys like Korrin WigginsKorrin Wiggins
Fr. Defensive Back
#12 6-1, 185
View Full Profile – we blitzed him right into the run and he smoked him. Spencer ShueySpencer Shuey
#33 6-3, 230
View Full Profile was around the ball a lot.”
However, Venables said the numbers alone show that there is still a vast need for improvement.
“We need to tighten things up in our coverage. We need to play consistent and execute and play with discipline,” he said. “If you're a flat player, play the flat. If you're supposed to trap No. 2, trap No. 2. You want a clean game and not make mental mistakes. That's the biggest thing as well as playing tough and physical and improve tackling, improve communication pre-snap, a lot of things that need to improve regardless of scheme."
Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
View Full Profile said he has seen a night-and-day improvement from the defense compared to this time last year, and Venables said he sees it, too.
"Oh yeah. Last year a zone play was like a trick play. You're not sound that way, it's hard to put everything else together,” he said. “They popped a couple of runs and they're pretty good up front with their running backs. Just more aggression now, more physical, more gap sound. Still structurally felt good coming out of last week's game as far as our leverage from the back end. We made a few mistakes. Some of it was communication. We have to do a better job of helping guys with signals and we'll work on that. You can get better at that through practice. Yeah, just night and day. We handled the two minute situation a lot better a year ago than we did this year. We had Hall and Brewer, two veteran guys, a year ago. A year ago we weren't quite as good in our front four at rushing the passer. We had all kind of make mistakes in a first game."
Venables said that one of the biggest challenges was getting his team to play focused despite all of the hype surrounding the opener.
"It was a huge challenge obviously,” he said. “Three straight possessions it was body blow, body blow, uppercut but our guys stayed on their feet and fought back. Someone said they scored just one touchdown on their next 10 possessions. Pleased in a lot of ways and displeased in other ways. If we didn't rush the quarterback, no ability, not physical, you'd be concerned. I know our guys and know some of the mistakes that were made. We did rush the quarterback and I like our guys up front. As you continue to build as a defense, they make it a lot easier."
South Carolina St.
"They ran it 54 times last week so they're very persistent. They have a new OC and his philosophy is to run the football and they established that last week. Following his career, they like to spread the ball and run it. The OC also was there a few years ago at SC State. They will use a variety of personnel and formations so our guys have to do a good job. It'll be a mentally challenging game as much as it will be physically because of gap integrity issues. If you're not lined up in the A gap, C gap or whatever it is, they'll find it. They're an inside zone running team."
“He just practiced harder, more consistent. More intense. He earned the job. We don't really care who starts. You want someone to earn the job. You want that separation. I think if you're trying to be fair, you want to reward performance. You never want guys to put their guard down. You want to reward a complete body of work from week to week, better focus, better energy and better intensity, all that. We have a lot of work to do, still."
Giving up big plays against Georgia
“The first run, we got one blocker and two defenders and I was surprised that the two involved were involved, because they're usually money. You're excited and you over pursue front side. Back side we can't ever lose that and that happened a couple of times. The later one he cut back for 23-25 yards on our backside pursuit. That's where guys are trying to do too much. On the first big run, guys were overly aggressive on the front side. There were different culprits. Sometimes in the throwing game on a couple plays, same guy involved. The scramble play where he broke contain, we have it covered, Grady is going to sack him, they chip our end and the quarterback scrambled outside and we lost some discipline in our zone coverage. And he finds our receiver. That's not the first time we'll see that, so we have to have better zone integrity in our coverage. Let the guy pull it down and run for three or four as opposed to throwing it for 20."
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