Man on a mission

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Defensive tackle Josh WatsonJosh Watson
RS So. Defensive Tackle
#91 6-4, 290
Wilmington, DE

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said Wednesday evening that when he first met new defensive coordinator Brent Venables, the first thing he noticed about his new coach was his intensity.

That opinion hasn’t changed.

“When he was hired, I went into his office and we sat down and talked for about 15 minutes,” Watson told TigerNet. “I honestly don’t think he blinked – not even once – the entire time. He was focused and intense. And he is that way in practice. He wants to win every play and not give up a yard. He gets mad.”

I asked Venables about his famous intensity after Wednesday’s practice, and he told me that he didn’t know of any other way to coach. But Venables - who left Oklahoma to perhaps find his own way in the college football world – feels like he has something to prove, and he appears to be a man on mission.

Add in a defense that endured several rough stretches a year ago and needs to regain its swagger, and you have a match made in heaven.

“Yes, I am intense, but football is emotional. It is competitive,” Venables said. “That is what I love about it. I feel like I have something to prove and I feel like my guys have something to prove. There is a great sense of urgency for us to hold up our end of the bargain and make great improvement across the board. But you are not going to get that unless you demand it, and I demand it. I try to appeal to their voice of reason, because they’ve all got one.”

Venables said he is trying to get the players to buy in to his system and understand their roles.

“That is part of my leadership responsibilities,” he said. “I want to make sure our guys know what their expectations are, what their responsibilities are and how they are going to be held accountable. At the end of the day you would like to think they have bought into it. Our guys have worked incredibly hard, they have shown toughness and they have shown responsibility for both success and failure. Those are all signs that they are buying in and that they believe in it.”

Finally, I asked Venables about his in-your-face sideline demeanor, and asked him if he had ever coached from the press box like many defensive coordinators, and he said no.

“I’ve never been in the box, so I don’t know what it’s like,” he said. “That is just what I know. I think from a communication standpoint, that is what I have been comfortable with. I want to see it, smell it, taste and touch it, and I can’t do that from the box.”

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