Venables sees beauty in improvement of defense

by - Staff Writer -
Linebacker Spencer Shuey tackles Orwin Smith for a safety against Ga Tech

CLEMSON- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and for the first time all season, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
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saw beauty in the play of his defense.

The Tigers’ much-maligned defense gave up just 17 points and forced three Virginia Tech interceptions in covering for Clemson’s offensive struggles in Clemson’s 38-17 victory Saturday afternoon.

The defense still struggled with missed tackles and gave up 406 total yards, but Venables said the improvement was a beautiful thing to see.

“I think it’s a step forward. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Venables said. “It was better for a lot of different reasons. The win is the biggest. To see them have more consistent success than they’ve had- the four turnovers, the pick-six, the stop on fourth down stop early to stop their momentum and keep them out of the endzone, hold them to a field goal at another real critical time.

“It was definitely more positive than negative for the first time in a while. I don’t take it lightly either. Just in regards to the work that they put in, they deserve to have some success because they’ve put in the work all year. You feel better about where you’re going.”

Venables said he took the poor play of his defense through the season’s first six games personally, and hopes that his consistent teaching is beginning to rub off on the players.

“Players are a reflection of their coach,” Venables said. “I’m a firm believer in that so when there are failures you always have to look at yourself first. Why are these issues continuing to come up? How can you make them get better? You always have to self analyze week-in and week-out- what you are doing schematically good or bad, what is the opponent seeing, what are the consistent schemes that you are seeing. Absolutely, you want to play well.

“You have pride and you’re used to having success and understand what it takes. To me, the mark of a great player and the really good defensive ones are a model of consistency and when you don’t have that, you have no chance. We’ve just been incredibly inconsistent. To be better that way- we’re nowhere close to where we need to be- gives you a good reason for optimism.”

The Tiger defense wasn’t perfect Saturday- missing tackles early in the game that allowed Virginia Tech to gain momentum- but Venables said that his players are beginning to find their groove.

“I just think it was better positioning, getting more comfortable, getting in a groove with what they’re doing,” Venables said. “I don’t think we tackled well in the first half. When they made plays, we didn’t tackle. We had a guy in the flat which should be a two or minus-two yard play and it goes for 20. We continue to have some of the same issues. We just have to settle down and tackle better and have better positioning.”

He said that good defensive play always starts up front and one of the bright spots over the last two weeks has been freshman defensive tackle D.J. ReaderD.J. Reader
Fr. Defensive Tackle
#48 6-3, 335
Greensboro, NC

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“I think any good defense, it starts from the inside out,” Venables said. “If you’re not playing well at linebacker or up front in that little triangle, it all looks bad. You’ve got to be strong up the middle. You have to get guys set and in the right spots. It’s not rocket science, but at the same time, there’s a little bit of mental strength that you have to have as well. It was better today.

“He gets out there and he makes plays. He was in there for 12 snaps and he makes four tackles. He’s getting off of blocks and pushing the pocket a little bit. He’s not Warren Sapp yet, but he’s willing to work. He’s a young guy who doesn’t know anything yet, but Dan’s doing a great job of teaching him, coaching him, and bringing him along. D.J. is a talented guy that is not a great player yet but if he works hard and continues to improve he has a chance to be in time.”

Venables has been impressed with the play of middle linebacker Spencer ShueySpencer Shuey
RS Jr. Linebacker
#33 6-3, 230
Charlotte, NC

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– who made his first career start at middle linebacker Saturday- and said that he finally has some quality depth at linebacker.

He’s [Shuey] instinctive,” Venables said. “He’s smart. He gets it. He finds the ball. He can tackle. He plays fast. He can cover guys. He’s really tough. I’ve got some depth there is what I have. Stephone [Anthony] is a great player and like all of them they are making improvements- some more than others. It just shows me that we’ve got some quality depth there.”

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Subject (Replies: 28) Author
Front Page Story: Venables sees beauty in improvement of defense
Definitely showing some improvement, which is encouraging,
Smiling Tiger®
400+ Yards. We were Lucky.
Re: 400+ Yards. We were Lucky.
Re: 400+ Yards. We were Lucky.
wait, are those options?
I agree, but at the same time I think many of us have seen
Graphic Tiger®
and the devils and deacs***
Re: I agree, but at the same time I think many of us have seen
Re: 400+ Yards. We were Lucky.
I as you was a little disgruntled after the game
Glad to see improvement. Shuey impressed. Keep at it!***
best D performance for sure - proud - lots of progress to
I think DJ Reader should just concentrate on football.
Re: I think DJ Reader should just concentrate on football.
Re: Front Page Story: Venables sees beauty in improvement of defense
Defense has 2 stats that matter
Re: Defense has 2 stats that matter
Re: Defense has 2 stats that matter
Re: Front Page Story: Venables sees beauty in improvement of defense
Apples and Oranges....
How abou this for irony......
Re: How abou this for irony......
Noone is claiming our Defense is good......
Re: How abou this for irony......
Says the guy with a 25% pulse.......
Not looking for beauty, I want blood***

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