Venables pleased with progress of the defense


by - Senior Writer -
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CLEMSON – Defensive coordinator Brent Venables believes he has the pieces in place to have a good defense in 2012, but he said following Saturday’s spring game in Death Valley that how far the unit can go in the fall will be determined by how hard they work over the summer and the kind of leadership
displayed by key personnel.

Venables told the media shortly after the scrimmage that he has been pleased with the progression this spring.

“I have been pleased with our guy’s effort. I’ve been pleased with their willingness to work,” Venables said. “Overall as a group, we’ve made improvement in a lot of areas. We have a long way to go and a lot of work to do across the board, at every position and at every phase. I can guarantee you that we are going to get there in time because our guys are working. They want to be good because we have a good leadership. We have a lot of youth at some positions, but I have been pleased where they have risen above their lack of experience and have shown that they can play.”

Venables said he is looking for his players to put in the necessary work over the summer.

“Obviously, we were missing a few guys out there today- Stephone AnthonyStephone Anthony
Fr. Linebacker
#12 6-3, 235
Polkton, NC

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[who is out with a hand injury], Tavaris BarnesTavaris Barnes
RS Fr. Defensive End
#6 6-4, 270
Jacksonville, FL

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[who had to attend a funeral]. Those two in particular and I know Tony [Steward] hasn’t practiced at all this spring, but the other two have. If our guys invest in the summer, and put forth the work that they did in the spring, then we are going to have the opportunity to be a good football team and a good defense.

“If they don’t, then we won’t. Getting our guys to create a standard and create chemistry together will be important this summer and again we as coaches have to foster and develop that. I sense a very close football team and we have good leadership starting with Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS So. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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on our football team. I think our guys can see that if they work at it and really invest in it that they will see positive results.”

He was then asked who is looking to lead the way, and he said that will be determined who shows leadership by working the hardest.

“I don’t know. That will be determined through how they work,” he said. There are some guys that are in a natural position- Malliciah [Goodman] who has played a lot, Rashard HallRashard Hall
Gr. Safety
#31 6-1, 210
St. Augustine, FL

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who has been around a while but wasn’t here all spring, Jonathan MeeksJonathan Meeks
Jr. Safety
#5 6-1, 210
Rock Hill, SC

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, [Xavier] Brewer, Corico [Hawkins], Quandon [Christian]- those are guys that have played a lot of football and have been around here a long time and you expect them. Our young guys- we’ve got more youth than not.

“I think in our whole defensive line, we’ve got one senior and the rest are freshmen and sophomores, but we can’t let that be an excuse. They have to lead at a young age. A guy like Stephone Anthony- I expect him to do so. Tig Willard is a natural leader. Guys that are a little bit quieter need to step up and be more vocal. We’re trying to foster that and pull that out and teach them how to be good leaders and that’s part of our job too.”

Venables on the defensive tackles:

“I’ll look back at it. I thought our guys were active and played with good technique. Dan [Brooks] does a good job coaching them. We’ve got some good young guys that have suddenness, quickness, decent explosiveness, and ability to use their hands. It’s pretty natural for some of those young guys.”

On Jonathan Meeks:

“He made some real nice plays. Half of the time, I wasn’t watching. I was trying to make sure some of the young guys were getting coached in between series, but I saw him make some plays with good vision. He closed on the ball and made some good strong tackles. That was pleasing to see.”

On the tackling:

“We’ve got a ways to go. There were some tackles that we missed to day and there’s no excuse. Tackling is attitude. Tackling is position. Tackling is discipline. Obviously, It’s fundamentals, but it’s attitude and discipline know where your help is and not having bad eyes, staying square and running. We have to continue to emphasize it and demand it. I think we will continue to make improvement.”


On the weight room, nutrition, equipment:

“I couldn’t be more pleased. It has exceeded my expectations. I couldn’t be more happy and appreciative from this coaching staff to the players’ willingness. There’s been no resistance. It is something that you worry about because it’s the unknown. Players and coaches alike are pulling in the same direction on both sides of the ball. I think we have great chemistry as a staff and that goes down to the players because they see that. It starts with Coach Swinney and his leadership and his vision for this, the people in this community, and this university. It goes without saying that they are very prideful and they have a lot to be proud of. It’s a very beautiful place and has a lot of passion and pride in the history and tradition here. It has been reaffirmed over and over.”


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