Clemson defense wins the line of scrimmage in domination of 'Noles


by - Senior Writer -
Clemson's defense stifled FSU for most of the afternoon
Clemson's defense stifled FSU for most of the afternoon

CLEMSON – Brent Venables’ defense is playing so well he’s laughing at his own players.

Clemson’s defense dominated Florida State Saturday afternoon – the Seminoles didn’t cross midfield until the third quarter and both touchdowns came long after the starters had retired to the bench.

A highlight of the day was Derion Kendrick’s pick-six in the third quarter, and it came on a call that Brent Venables laughed and said Kendrick has had trouble mastering.

"It's been a long time coming. That was a Cover 2 zone blitz, and we weren't great,” Venables said. “DK wasn't great in calls similar to that, in that call, at taking what was there, what he did today. I think we showed him a clip of Mark Fields against Boston College, pick-six in a similar call...and it's funny, we've been praising AJ (Terrell) as the one corner on the team that can play this scheme. This is easily the easiest scheme, and it allows you to be the most aggressive, but for some reason, we can't practice it and drill it, but guys are just afraid and stink at executing."

Venables then turned serious and said he was proud of how physical the defense played.

"I'm really pleased with them,” he said. “They were sharp, great intensity, played with tremendous passion and great physical toughness, and I felt that the most physical team who could dominate the line of scrimmage would win the game."

The Tigers held FSU running back Cam Akers to just 34 yards on nine carries.

"We really put a lot of focus on number three (Cam Akers), and everything goes through him, and our guys accepted the challenge,” Venables said. “I felt they came out on fire. It was fun to watch, they really were locked in, mature."

The Tigers also created four turnovers.

"Yeah, it was great. We had a great streak going there for a while...we bounced back in a big way, and again, just guys playing with great effort, being physical, and good things will always happen,” Venables said. “We played with confidence, just flying around, doing their job, and I thought our guys were really in-tune with the game plan, where we played with great cohesion as a unit."

One of the mainstays of the Clemson defense is linebacker Isaiah Simmons.

"In our building, we give him credit. We keep him humble, as well, and he's a humble guy anyway,” Venables said. “He's having a great year, and he's a very good player, he's a good leader, but his best attribute is he plays so hard, and plays with incredible effort. Very relentless, he'll make a mistake here or there fundamentally or alignment, or whatnot, but he always overcomes it because...he has some physical gifts, too. He can really run and he's long, but he just plays so hard."

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