Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables met with the media Saturday to breakdown the Bayou Bengals...
Q. Can you could talk about the challenge of preparing for a straightforward, physical attack like LSU, as opposed to maybe some of the more smoke and mirror offenses you might see?
COACH VENABLES: Well, they are very precise in what they are doing and that's what you have to appreciate and have great respect for. They do it with great intensity, very obviously very physical, very intense, physical and aggressive mind-set in how they run the football. They are running downhill to not just the isolation play but the whole mentality is being in attack mode and in the running game. They are great technicians at what they do.They understand leverage. They understand angles and very, very well coached and you can see it as an offensive team. It's exciting, because again, they are not trying to trick you and their form of a trick play is a playaction play and trying to get the receiver in behind you. So that being said, we are going to have to really make a collective effort, we are going to play a lot of guys. Our guys have the mind-set of the inside drill mentality and you have to do it for 60 minutes and that's the mind-set.
There's going to be a lot of ebbs and flows in this game, and at the end of the year, it's a huge stage, a lot of emotion prior to the game, and certainly there's ebbs and flows in the course of the game. If you can keep that mind-set, we are just going to keep playing ball and not get too high or too low, but at the end of the day, have an opportunity to win the game. That's going to be a real big part of this game.
They are going to make some plays, they are going to pop a run, our offense is going make some plays, defense is going to make some plays and you have to keep playing ball. Sixty minutes, a lot will take place over that course of time, and that tough mind-set we have been trying to preach to our guys, that mentality and again, that approach like Coach Morris said, being aggressive in what ever we are going, not playing on our heels.
Q. What have you heard from the scout team on the running backs?
COACH VENABLES: We have used Tra Thomas as our fullback, and he's a good athlete, quick, close to 275 pounds. He does a good job --and that's what we've done. They had one guy that doesn't play any more, got hurt I think earlier in the year, but they do a great job.
Q. Just curious, LSU has a much different offensive philosophy than Clemson, what's the challenge with the practice than a much different philosophy than you'll see on Monday?
COACH VENABLES: They want to run the football, so playaction is very similar. Guys have to stay on top of things in the back end. You have to be sound in what you're doing in defending the run. You've got to -- just like LSU is going to force you to get red numbers down there -- present one-on-one opportunities, this offense does the same thing.
They don't probably do as many motions, as many shifts in motions, but that actually helps you seeing that every day, because they force you not to allow your feet to get set. A lot of similarities in the run, pass and playaction game. Obviously our offense wants to get as close -- throwing the long ball and LSU, well documented in the last year, a little bit more aggressive in throwing the football and the run game has had great success.
I think they more than show that they can throw the ball when they want to; almost how however they want to approach, they will. If they want to do it from the air, the quarterback can definitely do it. They can make the shots if they need to, but it's a style and philosophy that they have embraced.
Q. (More about scout team)?
COACH VENABLES: Positioning your own players, make trying to cover those up, and certainly -- so same thing, this season, most physical team we've seen up to this point. I think this goes out saying. That's not earth-shattering news. That's what they are known for. They are a terrific football team. When you have players that have played in a National Championship, they are not Johnny Come Lately, they are established, and obviously having three weeks to get ready for somebody, we are going to see the best from their guys and our guys want it.
Q. In your short time with them, how pleased are you with the development of Tig Willard and does this game fit his style and his personality?
COACH VENABLES: He's come a long way, it's been very apparent, sometimes you see as a coach during the season, get to the next game and the next personnel group and third downs and everything else, there's not enough fingers and toes to plug up all the leaks. But he's been one guy that amongst others that there's been a steady improvement, very similar to Xavier, once we are able to settle him into one position and really allow him to use his skill set.
The thing that Xavier did, certainly fundamentally, he understands the system now more than ever, and where his health is, he can play aggressive and try to do things that he's not supposed to do and that allows really him to utilize his athletic ability. He's had a very strong season.