Venables' defense excels against Tech's flexbone "torture"


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Clemson's defensive line was stout against Georgia Tech
Clemson's defensive line was stout against Georgia Tech

CLEMSON – Other than a late touchdown drive that came against a bevy of reserves, Clemson’s defense held the Georgia Tech offense in check for most of Saturday’s 24-10 victory.

It was the kind of effort needed for a defense that had to live with the pain of the loss at Syracuse two weeks ago and has to rise to the challenge at North Carolina St. in a week.

"We know we didn’t play very well and coach very well the last time we were out so a great challenge,” defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “We still have a chance at the division and really, ultimately that was the goal. It just continues to give us a chance now in our division, and now you’ve got to go back on the road and try to have some redemption because that takes a different mentality and a different mindset than the last time we were out. Going on the road and having a chance to win against a good quality team like N.C. State at their place."

Venables said his defense put in the work necessary during the week.

"Just our preparation. Our guys played really well. We had a little over a week to get ready for them so that always helps, getting the game plan down and getting the technique down,” Venables said. “I’m really proud of our players and coaches. Those guys have to go out there and play and stay on their feet and squeeze blocks and tackle well and just be disciplined. There are no magical calls to it. You’ve got to do those things first and foremost. Just super proud of them. It’s like doing time these last two weeks.”

He then said coaching and playing against Tech’s option offense isn’t his idea of fun.

“It’s torture, to be honest with you. Because they have answers to what you’re doing,” Venables said. “They make it very hard mentally, physically for 60 minutes. Our guys were locked in and just have a tremendous amount of pride. They recognized the challenge and really just responded, especially after our last outing, that wasn’t really reflective of who we are. It was good to see that at least for a week it was an aberration and they got back on track and really played very well. I’m proud of them."

Most of the game was played in a steady rain.

“You always talk about the elements, the style of play, on the road, at night, noon, just embrace it all. Everybody does,’ Venables said. “I was worried a little bit whether or not it would favor them, just that dive that’s torture that falls for four all day because you can’t wrap them up and it slips through. That’s how they get in sync and in rhythm, so really from the onset I think they hit a couple of early dives for four or five, but our guys got locked in and really put the clamps on them for a good amount of the game."

Venables moved middle linebacker Tre Lamar to the outside for the game, and the sophomore from Georgia also played some at defensive end.

“I think he had 11 plus tackles, played outside backer and linebacker both. We worked him at both this week and he did a great job,” Venables said. “That’s very hard for all the things we do on defense scheme wise and then the variety of things that are drastically different if you’re playing d-end or linebacker. I thought he really had an outstanding two weeks of prep and gave us some good depth there at d-end for this game. He’s got to be like an outside linebacker in the scheme at that position. He really did well. He’s a good athlete. Good on his feet. Hard to knock off his feet, can really run, and he’s strong."

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