Venables "disgusted" and "embarrassed" after dismal performance against Gamecocks
|Sunday, November 25, 2018, 1:35 AM- -|
CLEMSON – Embarrassed, disappointed and disgusted.
Those were the words and obviously frustrated Brent Venables used when he described Saturday’s defensive performance and his coaching, in particular.
The numbers bear out Venables' embarrassment.
The Gamecocks racked up 600 total yards of offense, and quarterback Jake Bentley completed 32-of-50 passes for 510 yards and five touchdowns, both rivalry records.
South Carolina also had 29 first downs and was 7-of-14 on third down. The one saving grace for the defense were two goal-line stands.
Things were so bad after Clemson’s 56-35 win over archrival South Carolina, Venables said he had already eaten nails and spit them out. Twice.
“Already done that. Twice. It was painful. I'm proud of our guys to be 12-0 and beat your rival five years in a row. It's tough to do,” Venables said after Clemson’s fifth consecutive win over South Carolina. “Obviously, it's been done once in 78 years. I'm proud of our guys, particularly our seniors. Incredible leadership. I think they've won 52 games and finish off their last game in Death Valley that's pretty bigtime. I'm disappointed in our performance tonight, not with everyone. I thought South Carolina and Jake had a good plan. They played well. Obviously, I didn't coach them very well tonight. I'm embarrassed at different things that happened tonight.
“Obviously, it's my responsibility to get our guys ready and we weren't. We weren't as sharp as we've been. I think we gave up three games worth of passing yards tonight and did a lot of fundamental and technical things wrong and that's my responsibility to make sure our guys are in good positions and playing with good technique and doing the little things right. I didn't think we did a lot of the little things right early on in the game and allowed them to get in a rhythm and did a poor job of adjusting, obviously. I'm pretty disgusted with myself.”
Even with the strong words of criticism, Venables also took time to praise his defense and the team for what they’ve accomplished thus far in 2018.
“I thought our guys - the majority of our guys - played with great effort. There are a bunch of guys who probably played really well,” Venables said. “there were a couple of good fourth-down stops that ended up being the difference in the game. J.D. (Davis) had a nice pick. There's not a lot to be excited about. We're going to the ACC Championship. We're 12-0. It's hard to do. WE've played pretty well all year and I really felt we were in a good rhythm and tonight we'll hopefully look at it as a minor setback and some things that we've got to improve on. We got some things exposed tonight and we'll have to look at scheme-wise and personnel-wise what we're doing.”
However, there were plenty of mistakes made Saturday night and Venables said they aren’t complicated, but it’s the little things that determine whether you’re successful or not.
“We kept letting guys get inside of us. It's not real complicated. We had a couple of busts where guys were wide open and the guys didn't get the signal,” Venables said. “None of it sounds any good or its worth a dang. We can't do those types of things, but there wasn't really much. They had a couple of wrinkles. We came out early and I could tell early that we weren't as sharp as we needed to be. Some of the outlets in the throwing game, in particular, where to me they're layups on defense, we were air-balling them. It's hard to get in a rhythm and we allowed them to make some plays. We were either too deep or too wide in some of our alignments and they ended up seeing and exposing it.”
With Pittsburgh and the ACC Championship Game looming next Saturday, Venables and the defense don’t have a lot of time to get the mistakes corrected, but he said he liked what he saw from his players and team leaders in the aftermath of one of their worst performances of the season.
“I do believe that we're better than that and I know we are. We've got 12 games of proof. I think that was a small sample tonight, but there were things that you can't ignore without question,” he said. “We've got some work to do fundamentally, but I have no doubt that our guys will come back and respond. I just locker room so I know where the accountability and the responsibility is and the attitude and the ownership. Because of what I was just a part of in the locker room, I don't have any doubt that our guys aren't satisfied, don't have their heads in the sand, recognize the issues that took place and what we have to do to go back and work on it this week.”