Brent Venables needs more out of his defense: "We have just got to play better"

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Venables needs for his defense to be more consistent
Venables needs for his defense to be more consistent

CLEMSON – Brent Venables needs more out his defense. More physicality. More consistency. More disciplined.

Clemson scrimmaged inside the stadium Saturday, and the Tigers’ defensive coordinator said he needs more out of his defense as they ramp up preparations for the August 29th season opener against Georgia Tech.

“We were Inconsistent early. WE had a few guys down on that second group, so some threes had to step up and we saw some good things but got exposed at times,” Venables told TigerNet. “They responded and really played well for seven or eight of the next nine drives. I think 10 of the first 19 drives were punts, so really good stuff there. We’ve just got to more physical, more disciplined, a better understanding of not only what I’m doing but the people around you, when you can shoot your gun and be aggressive, turn your shoulders, spill, lever, all those things.

“We have just got to play better, and the back-seven communicating at times when they give you certain looks. We’ve got to be ready for it. For a few guys, it being the first time full-speed, live, they handled it well a few times and not so good at others. Situationally, we showed up in some short-yardage, which is pleasing, being physical there. The goal-line situations, some really good stuff there. We had a pick-six for a touchdown and made some good plays. But overall, again, just inconsistent, we’ve got to be more physical. Guys got to know what to do, and we got to come out and start a little stronger, can’t go in lulls. We can’t play inconsistently. We’ve got to do the little things well. Eyes, leverage, physicality, just overall discipline.”

Venables was asked if any players stood out.

“Nah, I’m just in the middle of every play thinking about all 11, just looking at a unit. And I’ll go in and watch the tape,” he said. “DK (Derion Kendrick) didn’t play. AJ (Terrell) has had a really good fall camp. Tyler Davis has been really consistent, I think. Nyles (Pinckney) got back in there some, a little bit, but his plan wasn’t to take many snaps. Defensive ends have been really a pretty good group, a little bit inconsistent, some of the younger guys. But it has a chance to be a good unit when it’s said and done. They’ve just got to really understand the ‘why’. Not just the ‘what’ but the ‘why,’ because the ‘why’ always helps you to play with a different set of intentions and different mindset in regards to purpose. But again, just play more sure of yourself.”

Venables love his starting group of linebackers, which includes James Skalski, Isaiah Simmons, and Chad Smith.

“I like the first group of linebackers. We’ve just got to get better as a group overall. You’ve got to play with great intensity, great emotion,” he said. “This is not a casual game in any way. A nonchalant attitude always gets exposed. I think at times young guys just don’t have the right kind of sense of desperation and toughness and focus that you’ve got to have. Those grown men that are lining up against you, you’re going to get exposed. We’re straining our players at the highest level, and we’ve seen them respond at times, and some other times are learning opportunities.”

On Isaiah Simmons

“He had a really good, strong finish, and I want more. Isaiah knows that, and I want more. I want him to be a dominant player, and so everything that goes along with that, you’ve got to bring it every day. Every day, not most of the time. Every day. When he does that, he can decide on how great he wants to be, but it takes that. First of all, you’ve got to show up every day at a high level, ready to fight, compete, lead, strain, all those things every day, not most of the time.”

The backup defensive linemen

“Ruke (Orhorhoro) has really made some improvement and Etinosa Reuben had a really good spring. Just some little nagging injuries with ET. But they’re battlers and I’m really proud of those guys. They’ve worked their butts off and have really flashed for us. They’re going to be really good players and I’m really proud of the transformation. Both of them have put the work in to create that transformation.”

Corners

“There are some other guys that have been banged up there, too. LeAnthony (Williams) has gotten better, Mario Goodrich has gotten better, and Sheridan Jones had a good spring and he came back and he got better. All those guys have really done a nice job. Andrew Booth has come in and has played aggressive. He’s long, and he’s doing some things he didn’t do in high school schematically. He’s really caught on, so that’s been really pleasing to see as well. And they’ve all flashed and made some crazy good plays against as good of personnel as we’re going to play all year. Really good personnel to strain you every snap.”

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Tags: Derion Kendrick, Tyler Davis, James Skalski, Isaiah Simmons, Chad Smith, Etinosa Reuben, Mario Goodrich, Sheridan Jones, Brent Venables
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