Venables talks front seven, corners that could redshirt

by - Senior Writer -
Venables said that depth and a stout front seven have enabled him to do more things schematically. (TigerNet Staff)

CLEMSON – Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
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likes what he has seen through the first two games of the season, but sees room for improvement as the Tigers begin preparations for North Carolina St.

Clemson’s defensive coordinator told the media Tuesday in the WestZone that depth across the board and a stout front seven have enabled him to do more things schematically than he was able to do last season.

“The biggest thing is you have a lot more flexibility in the things that you can do,” Venables said. “If you want to change a front or move guys or use the run and play-action pressures, those opportunities are there without having to move guys and try to fit it and adjust it. In the front seven, it’s the depth and the cohesion that are there. That is probably the most pleasing. I think our guys are playing with great effort and are being really physical in our first two games. I like our attitude.”

However, he sees definite room for improvement.

“We still have depth issues and we will be stressed a lot of different ways throughout the year,” he said. “There are a lot of good quarterbacks and a lot of good offenses we will see. So we just have to improve in a lot of areas. Our pressure has to improve. Our coverages have to improve, both underneath and behind. We have to improve communication across the board. There are a lot of things. And we have to get people down on the ground.”

Other notes

On the play against SC State

I thought it was a solid performance. Any time you are playing 83 guys you have things you are going to need to improve on. But I thought our guys played hard and they competed. They had great focus, energy and were physical. We were really physical in the run game. They are a team that forces you to play with discipline.”

On the play of the corners

“I was pleased with the corners; I thought they played well and had good positioning and were physical. That was a very encouraging couple of pick-sixes, obviously. That was guys being sure of themselves.”

On Marcus EdmondMarcus Edmond
Fr. Defensive Back
#29 6-1, 180
Hopkins, SC

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“He could probably get out there and play, but would he better than those four? Probably not right now. But he has a bright future, and he is going to be a very good player. But in fairness to both he and the team, it would be ideal if he were to redshirt and get stronger and improve.”

On when MacKensie AlexanderMacKensie Alexander
Fr. Defensive Back
#2 5-11, 185
Immokalee, FL

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could play

“I don’t know. I have no idea. I saw him but didn’t ask him anything about his injury yesterday. I am sure he is making incremental improvements and when somebody says he is ready to go, he will be ready to go and we will see what he can do. But I literally haven’t seen him practice one rep since he’s been on our campus. It’s an enigma to me. He will be fine, whether it is next year or this year, we will see.”

Being able to score touchdowns defensively

“It shows we have guys with good ball skills. They have awareness and know what to do with the football when they get it. Pressure up front caused one of those for sure, and Quandon (Christian) does a nice job there batting the pass. It was a collective effort. Playing with an attack mentality. That can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of the game and have an impact on the offense. When you have an offense like we have, that’s a pretty good recipe. Pick-sixes don’t just fall out of the tree, and I would hope that the turnovers and aggressiveness are a by-product of the guys knowing what they are doing and being in the right position and playing in an aggressive manner.”

Grady JarrettGrady Jarrett
Jr. Defensive Tackle
#50 6-1, 290
Conyers, GA

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“He was pretty good last year. If somebody asked me if he could show up and be the same guy as last year – no better or no worse – I would take it because that is a pretty good football player. He brings all of the intangibles and brings the playmaking ability as well. He is very disruptive. Is he better or worse? I don’t know. He looks like the same guy to me. He is hard to block and very sound and where he is supposed to be. Does it reflect statistically? I don’t know and it doesn’t really matter. I have been pleased with his leadership.”

On the play of the safeties

“Solid. Pretty solid. Nobody has played a perfect two games. There are things we have to get corrected and those two guys (Robert SmithRobert Smith
Jr. Safety
#27 5-10, 210
St. George, SC

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and Travis BlanksTravis Blanks
So. Defensive Back
#11 6-0, 190
Tallahassee, FL

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) are guys that take it personally and are very prideful young guys that work hard at their craft. Any issues that have been there from the first two games, they will be the first ones in line to get them corrected.”

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