Venables says you "can't flop around" and win in the College Football Playoff


by - Senior Writer -
Brent Venables is proud of what his defense has accomplished this season.
Brent Venables is proud of what his defense has accomplished this season.

Brent Venables understands that when it comes to playoff football, you can’t flop around and win.

Clemson’s outstanding defensive coordinator met with the media following last Saturday’s win over Virginia and was asked about the impending bowl game - No. 2 Ohio State (13-0) and No. 3 Clemson (13-0) tangle in the desert later this month in the College Football Playoff’s semifinal in the Fiesta Bowl. That means Venables will have to gameplan for Buckeye quarterback Justin Fields.

“Yeah, when you play in the playoffs you play good people,” Venables said. “You aren't going to flop around and have a chance to win. We are going to enjoy this but then we will put our heart into it. That is what we ask of our guys, just put your heart into the finish line here and see where things fall. There will be some unbelievable players and coaches and schemes. That is playoff football so that is to be expected.”

Clemson’s defense didn’t have its best game against Virginia – the Cavaliers sustained drives and had success on third down while quarterback Bryce Perkins made plays with his feet and his arm – but Venables said he didn’t let his players dwell on the negative after the game.

“I told them, I said I am not gonna let you walk through my mind with your dirty feet so don't even come in here being all mad. First of all, Virginia is a champion as well,” Venables as well. “Very well-coached. They are exactly who we thought they were. Very precise. Looks like that extra day of preparation helped them. They had some stuff that we had to try and get adjusted to. And they had a few situations where we are in some not-so-great calls and tough matchups and that's what I told the guys. We have had an incredible year. I think we are tops in the country on defense in a bunch of different areas. That is what I saw out there was a group of guys respond and come back and make some plays.

“We didn't play perfect but didn't need to. We had a great attitude and responded well and our offense played really well and put a lot of stress and pressure on them and that's the game. That is what happened. I just look at how well we've played all year. There are some things we can correct - a guy gets out-competed for a ball. That happens but you don't like it. That is going to happen when you play good people. We had a few mental errors that you don't like but you have to get fixed going forward.”

Whatever happens in the playoffs, Venables has been pleased with how his players have responded.

“This has been a neat year. For me personally, it exceeded my own personal expectations,” Venables said. “I know every year is different. This is a group of guys that made a decision before the season started and as the season has gone along, to be great. That is cool to see. They have really come together with cohesion and chemistry and the love and respect this team has for each other is unique. Every year is different. Just because you did it last year doesn't mean it will happen this year. Otherwise, everybody would be doing it. I am just very thankful for them and their work and their belief and just to be a part of it.”

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