Confident Clemson defense takes aim at dynamic Virginia QB

by - Senior Writer -
Venables says the Cavaliers like to get their best players in space.
Venables says the Cavaliers like to get their best players in space.

CLEMSON – Senior safety K’Von Wallace told the media Monday that Clemson is the best team in the country and defensive coordinator Brent Venables likes the confidence shown by the Virginia native. For the Tigers to prove they are indeed the nation’s best team, they have to get past the Virginia Cavaliers in this weekend’s ACC Championship Game in Charlotte.

That means stopping dynamic quarterback Bryce Perkins.

Over the course of this season, Perkins has completed 64.3 percent of his passes for 2,949 yards and 16 touchdowns with nine interceptions. He has also rushed 196 times for 687 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Venables says that he doesn’t feel like comparing Perkins to any other player.

"He's the heart and soul of their offense. Virginia has done a tremendous job of building an offense around him,” Venables said of Perkins. “They're extremely efficient. They're in a lot of RPO modes with a really big, strong, fast quarterback who runs it with well-designed quarterback runs. They do a good job of moving the pocket and taking advantage of his athletic ability with roll-outs, boots, and things of that nature.

"Good instincts, awareness, toughness. They put a lot on him at the line of scrimmage as opposed to checking to the line of scrimmage and getting help. He does it all on his own. Their skill guys outside play strong, run good routes, make a ton of competitive plays, back-shoulder throws. Tight coverage-- they win a lot. They are very efficient on early downs and one of the top teams on third down as a result of early-down success. They want to possess the football. I'm sure on the year they've definitely won the time of possession and that's a key part of what they do. Really smart, well-designed scheme."

He then said the Cavaliers like to put their skill players in space and let them make plays.

"It's a space game, tempo-oriented. A lot of skill guys all over the place,” he said. “A lot of offenses getting five guys out and forcing everyone to play out in space. (Missed tackles) are kind of a byproduct at times. Understanding of not only your positioning but where other guys are supposed to be in a call helps a lot too to be a better tackling team. If you don't know where your help is, you'll look like a complete fool out in space like anybody."

Wallace is a Virginia native that didn’t receive an offer from his in-state school and said Monday he will play the best 60 minutes of the season Saturday. Venables likes the confidence.

"You want them to be confident,” Venables said. “That's not necessarily my style but to each his own. K'Von has played really well. I think he's comfortable handling himself in that way and he likes putting pressure on himself.”

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