Swinney, Venables share same vision for Clemson

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Brent Venables has arrived in Clemson and, in his own words, he has visions of championships.

Clemson’s new defensive coordinator sat down at the table with Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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Friday afternoon in the team room at the WestZone, and it didn’t take long for the former Oklahoma defensive coordinator to impress.

In fact, you almost got the feeling listening to Venables talk that he was the CEO of a large corporation rather than a football coach.

Venables, who spent 13 years in Norman, said he spoke with Swinney last Thursday night and it was a conversation that set the stage for him to replace Kevin SteeleKevin Steele
Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
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The announcement that Steele was being let go came out last Thursday, and Swinney said he had a list of guys he would go after and was already taking calls from coaches who wanted to interview for the job. Swinney said that one coach who called about the job actually promoted Venables.

“He said, ‘If you can hire that guy, you had better hire him.’ And this came from a guy who wanted the job,” Swinney said.

Swinney said he sent Venables a text late last Thursday expressing interest in talking to him, and Venables called him “five seconds later.”

As a result, Venables came in for a visit last weekend, and he said he knew in his heart when he left Sunday that Clemson was the place he wanted to be, but needed to clear things up in Oklahoma before reaching his decision.

“When I left here, I knew this was what I needed to do and what I wanted to do,” Venables said. “The last hurdle and obstacle was dealing with the issues back in Norman.”

Once he did, it was all systems go and the Tigers have a defensive coordinator who promises to get the linebackers “playing downhill” and a hire that Swinney called a “grand slam.”

“I was compelled to be here when there was an opening,” Venables said. “As fate had it, coach Swinney was right, it was like one of my old college buddies talking on the phone, trying to catch up for three hours. It really did. I go to bed early. I was up well past my bedtime, close to two o’clock in the morning. I felt juiced. I was energized. I felt we had been on the phone for 20 minutes.”

Venables said he was excited about the possibilities that Clemson offers.

“Growing up, I was scared about what it would be like to compete against a place like Clemson,” Venables said. “There’s a mystique to it. But to see it, the beautiful facilities, it’s very special. This is as good as it gets. “The needle is pointing in one direction – up. That’s very evident.”

Venables said his approach is very simple.

“What I’m trying to do is put a consistent product on the field, a great defense that plays with passion, intensity, and physicality,” Venables said. “I feel I can come, bring another perspective, more insight and develop a core, inside-out, with linebackers that play downhill. Timing is everything in this profession, and there couldn’t be a better time to be at Clemson than right now.”

Swinney said that Venables’ success in the explosive Big 12 will have a positive impact on the Clemson defense.

“He brings some great things with defending the spread and athletic quarterbacks, different things you have to defend,” Swinney said. “Hopefully we’ll have a few different things in our defensive and offensive systems that are unique. The part that really excites me is playing against the option, which is an element in this league. From football knowledge, a schematic standpoint, how he’ll teach it, and the personality to go along with it, as well as the chemistry he brings and the development of players, he’s incredibly impressive.

“He’s a great fit for me. He’s a great fit for this staff. He’s a great fit for our players. He’s a great fit for Clemson, especially at this particular time. The thing I like about him, he’s been a very loyal guy. He’s been at two schools. Many opportunities to go be a coach at other places, but he’s been very, very loyal. I love that about him.”

Venables echoed Swinney’s sentiments, and said the two share a common goal.

“He shares a lot of the same things I do, in regards to values, in regards to building a championship program - he’s got a vision I share,” Venables said. “A vision of success, a vision of championships.”

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