Quit whining and complaining: Venables leaves little doubt about feelings


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Venables celebrates the final stop against FSU
Venables celebrates the final stop against FSU

CLEMSON – Brent Venables is happy that third-ranked Clemson escaped Doak Campbell Stadium with a win last Saturday night, and he’s thrilled that his defense got the stop it needed with the game on the line.

Just don’t ask him to be happy with how his group played.

The Seminoles racked up 449 yards of total offense, including averaging 5.8 yards per carry to gain 163 on the ground, and scored 34 points in the loss. The defense also committed five pass interference penalties, and Venables was asked Tuesday if he thought some of the penalties were of the iffy variety.

His answer left little doubt about his feelings, and said that everybody needs to quit whining and complaining about the officials and just get better.

"I don't know," he said. "We must get better and clean up our technique and that starts in practice. You have to stress yourself and hold yourself accountable and quit whining and complaining. We have officials at every practice and we do it too much. We must get better that way. When you are guilty of it early, they are really going to be looking for it. When we are phased and in position, we must do a better job of helping them out and coaching and correcting them."

Clemson’s defensive backs had trouble with the deep ball, failing time and time again to turn their head before the ball’s arrival, and the back end of the defense had issues stopping Dalvin Cook and the counter run game.

"With a counter play for example, you can train some guys to get it down through repetition and they can get it down and fit it right, track the guard or the tackle and they see the split flow,” he said. “And then some guys they show up Day One, man, and they know the ball is going over here. Guys over here waiting on the ball because he has such good feel and instincts and natural movement to him.

"I think it's the same way (for corners in man coverage). Some guys are very natural, and a lot of NFL guys are like, 'What's his ball skills like? That's an important thing to a lot of people, is it natural? And some guys can get really good at it too. But I think that's part of getting your head back around and the timing and the confidence and the poise and patience and all: 'I've got this guy, and I'm going to find that ball here because it's coming. Not panicking, that's a big part of it."

It wasn’t the best of nights for senior corner Cordrea Tankersley, who struggled with Seminole receiver Travis Rudolph.

"He's been good. You remember the play against Louisville. That's a terrific play on the ball. He's made more plays on the ball than not,” Venables said of Tankersley. “He had a couple of tough plays that he'd probably like to get back, but he's made a bunch of good plays on the football the last couple of years. Hopefully that was an aberration. Sometimes, again, you don't have the focus and the intensity and the urgency on that particular play. And if they get it going, you can be a victim of momentum. If you play as much man or press, that kind of thing, you're going to be vulnerable to that. Got to get back to the basics and the fundamentals and the belief system and put yourself in a more advantageous defensive position as well."

Venables and the defense now turn their attention to Syracuse, a team that plays with tempo.

“This will be the fastest team we've played at tempo, and they are averaging more plays than anybody we've played,” Venables said. “We just have to practice with a great deal of urgency. Our guys are used to it, and we try to practice that way with the scouts. We are averaging about 110 plays per practice so we are used to going no-huddle and communicating fast so it's not a new revelating philosophy. They are playing really hard, very competitive. They have a new philosophy and new system and you can tell the players know what they are doing.”

Venables hopes to have senior safety Jadar Johnson back this weekend. Johnson suffered a lower leg injury against Florida St., and Venables was asked Tuesday what it means to have Johnson anchoring the secondary.

“Did you see that interception? I haven't seen one like that in a long time,” Venables said. “There was a kid named Tony Jefferson at Oklahoma had one of those one-handed, crazy, find that ball catches. That was spectacular. He is a great athlete. Experienced. He is very calm back there. Very few mistakes mentally.”

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