Vibin' with Venables

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – High school coaches walked off the Clemson practice fields in small groups and large groups after watching Clemson’s practice Friday afternoon. The coaches were on campus as a part of Clemson’s 2013 Clemson Football Coaches Clinic, and the reaction to the practice was as varied as the coaches themselves.

One coach stopped to chat, and said, “I wish I had just seven or eight of those guys. I could win a state title.”

Other coaches talked about the showing of Clemson’s defense, the front seven, the linebackers and how the secondary frustrated Clemson’s receivers in the brief scrimmage. It was the second consecutive strong outing for Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
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’ group, and he said afterward that he felt like the unit was making progress.

“We’re making progress. Guys have better familiarity with their responsibilities,” Venables said. “They’re competing hard, playing more physical. We’re still a work in progress, still trying to put all the pieces together. Every year is different, but I do see some of the experience returning, showing up. Everybody always says it starts up front.

“Those guys have really been consistent. I’m really pleased with their progress in picking up from where they left off a year ago, continuing to improve. We’ve got a good group to go against. It’s been give and take. I’m pleased with where we’re at right now, but we’ve still got a long ways to go, and still have the rest of the spring, summer and fall camp. We’ve still got work to do.”

Other notes
On the most consistent defensive back

Robert SmithRobert Smith
So. no Safety
#27 5-11, 210
St. George, SC

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has probably been our most consistent guy back there. He’s really improved in a lot of ways.”

On Bashaud BreelandBashaud Breeland
RS So. Cornerback
#17 6-0, 195
Allendale, SC

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“He’s coming back. He’s done some good things. We’re still working. He’s still not a finished product yet.”

On the defensive backs in general

“I want to see it. A year ago, I thought those guys were pretty solid. In fall camp, they were. They didn’t perform with the consistency that it takes, mentally or physically. It’ll be a process, with guys coming in here, to add some depth.”

On the defensive tackles

“Probably, the most consistent guy has been Grady JarrettGrady Jarrett
So. Defensive Tackle
#50 6-1, 290
Conyers, GA

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. We’ve got some good leadership there with him and Josh [Watson], DeShawn [Williams]. He’s probably been our most consistent. Those other guys have done well, though. D.J. ReaderD.J. Reader
Fr. Defensive Tackle
#48 6-3, 335
Greensboro, NC

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, when he’s been here, he’s made good progress, even from last season. When he gets back out here full-time- he’s out here a decent amount - when he gets back out here full-time, he’s really going to make a push with some guys.”
On Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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calling Vic BeasleyVic Beasley
RS So. Defensive End
#3 6-3, 225
Adairsville, GA

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a freak

“He had a really good scrimmage. Freak’s pretty high. Freak is Adrian Peterson. Freak is Sammy and Nuk at their best. We’ll see.”

On the front seven

“That front seven is a lot more consistent. They’ve all got to get better. I think there’s a little bit more clarity there. And there’s a lot more uncertainty on the backend than there was a year ago. There just is. It is what it is. There’s going to be a group of guys that come in here and, unfortunately, help us. How much they can, we’ll see.”

On Tony StewardTony Steward
So. Linebacker
#7 6-1, 235
Hastings, FL

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“I think he’ll be back when we get back together next week. He had a good practice, probably the best practice he’s had [before the injury]. It was a really good, solid practice. I think there’s no doubt that he’s further along but is still coming along.”

*We heard the Bashaud Breeland had a nice scrimmage, where he was locked up with Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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a good bit of the time.

*I’ve been asking about the physical practices, and I was told that things have been “pretty nasty” between the two lines during the spring, and that today was no exception.

*Giff Timothy told us after the scrimmage that Ryan Norton has a “nastiness” to him that helps play the center spot, but I also heard that redshirt freshman Jay GuillermoJay Guillermo
Fr. Center
#57 6-3, 290
Maryville, TN

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may get some first team snaps next week.

*Running back Zac BrooksZac Brooks
Fr. Running Back
#24 6-1, 185
Jonesboro, AR

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told me he currently weights 190, but wants to be at 200 by the start of the season.

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