Tigers once again lead the nation defensively, but Venables credits Swinney


by - Senior Writer -
Brent Venables' defense once again is putting together a dominant season
Brent Venables' defense once again is putting together a dominant season

Brent Venables gets the credit for Clemson’s top-ranked defense, but the Tigers’ defensive coordinator gives part of the credit to head coach Dabo Swinney.

Clemson is ranked first nationally in scoring defense (13.0 points per game), 7th in rushing defense (91.63 yards per game), 13th in passing defense (172.3 yards per game), 3rd in total defense (263.9 yards per game), 3rd in opponents’ third-down conversions (26.19%), 7th in sacks (26), and 2nd in tackles for loss (80).

It has been a remarkable run of consistency for Venables.

“We have good players and we’ve done a good job recruiting the right kind of guys with a good work ethic,” Venables said. “We have had good leaders, the quality of the guys you bring in reflect the program. We bring in guys who know how to work and have a humility to be coached.”

He then gave credit to Swinney.

“The leadership of Coach Swinney, he leads the charge. He is relentless at meeting that standard,” Venables said. “Some years it is reflective of being a top 5 or top 10 unit, sometimes maybe even a top 25 unit. Me personally, as a coach, I take a lot of pride in getting better every single day. Being consistent as a coach, not changing from week to week. I learned that as a player. Having a passion and a love for the grind, you have to have your guys buy into all of those things. The best units are the ones that get better every day. Consistency is what lasts and has staying power.”

The Tigers take on Louisville this Saturday in a Death Valley high noon showdown, and even though the Cardinals have a five-game post-Lamareak and a 2-6 record, Venables says the Tigers need to be wary.

“I see a really good football team. Coach (Bobby) Petrino has never made one to make declarations about being this and being this,” Venables said. “He calls it how is it. He said this was his most talented and fastest team and most explosive team. He felt they would be more consistent this year post Lamar Jackson. They have had a lot of opportunities to win games. They have got to make their lay ups, if you aren’t making lay ups you can’t get in a rhythm. It’s hard to win when you aren’t in a rhythm.

“Those are things I’m sure they are putting in front of their team. They have got to make the lay ups. They are a very, very dangerous team. They have a very deep group of receivers. They know us and we know them. They probably should have beat Florida State by a couple scores, but you have to make lay ups. Not many of us can shoot the three, but we can all make lay ups. When you are making lay ups everything is great. When you aren’t making lay ups it isn’t great.”

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