Brent Venables' defense can't get off field vs. Gamecocks

Brent Venables

Photo by Mark Crammer

Brent Venables

Venables: We couldn't make the play


— In Brent Venables’ words, his Clemson defense simply wasn’t good enough Saturday night. The Tigers were nickel-and-dimed to death by South Carolina and backup quarterback Dylan Thompson in a 27-17 defeat. USC ran 86 plays and held the ball for 39:58, slowly strangling the life out of Clemson’s offense in the second half.

The Gamecocks converted 11 of 21 third downs as Thompson passed for 310 yards, winning the rivalry game for the fourth consecutive season.

Venables discussed his defense’s struggles, Thompson and more with reporters afterward:

On not being able to get off the field in the second half: “Nope, couldn’t make a play, couldn’t get a stop. Defense is about making stops. Overall, the year we’ve played pretty good on third and fourth downs. Tonight they had our number. They were more precise than us, made a couple critical errors there in the second half, a couple of third down conversions, let (Dylan Thompson) run around at critical times. We just weren’t good enough. Didn’t coach them good enough. And couldn’t make a play when they needed one.”

Was Thompson more adept as a runner than you thought: “Yeah. The M.O. was that it wasn’t his cup of tea. I think he showed when he needed to, he extended some plays. He defended very well.”

On generating pressure early but not late: “Again, it was a deal where we got into a number of third and fourth-down situations where we got the third down and they converted, a number of third down conversions in that third quarter were on penalties on us, as well. We couldn’t get into a rhythm because of both them and us. It was a funny game. Opportunities were there and we couldn’t get them. You’ve got to give them all the credit. They scrapped together enough plays and conversions to keep us on our heels, keep the offense off the field. In the second half we couldn’t get in that rhythm.”

On getting spread out: “When they did that, those were long-yardage situations. We had a drop-eight where they hit us for a touchdown. Hit the seam route in there, and again, we had some opportunities to make some plays, we couldn’t quite do it.”

Offensive touches: “It worked. They were nickel-and-diming us, just executing and making plays when they had to and keeping our offense off the field.”

On Xavier Brewer: “Xavier had a real big game. He was around the football a lot, disruptive, getting good coverage for most of the night. What we needed along with that was a win. We pressured (Thompson) and he showed up in the run game a few times in coverage. Just had good awareness tonight. Anticipated things well. Was physical. Made a number of big plays in the game.”

On Thompson’s legs again: “It’s not like he can’t run. What he did was very timely. The opportunities that they took with him to run, we didn’t do a good enough job of preparing our guys for that. A few calls that we could have changed the call. We’d love to get a couple of those plays back, those third-down situations. Unfortunately you can’t. But they did a good job of scheming a couple of things up.”

On USC being a step up in competition from ACC play: “I don’t know. Five, six minutes to go in the game, we’ve got an opportunity. It’s a one-score game. I look at every game different. Every game’s competitive, everything’s got its ebbs and flows. We had a number of opportunities where we could have changed the game. They were good enough and we weren’t.”

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Comments » 5

richardcd writes:

Clemson held USC to 27 points. That's not bad. The problem was that they kept our offense off the field, and we couldn't score. Our offense lost the game.

columbiabill writes:

I just absolutely cannot understand why DC's go to a rush 3 and cover with 8 defense. Given enough time any division 1 QB can find a receiver-it becomes back yard football. What USC did was slide the running back out into the flat since he didn't need to stay in to protect. Throw it to him-first down. So simple! You have to put pressure on the QB with however many people it takes. Sure, he may complete a few underneath the coverage but overall he will mess up with the pressure. The 3 man rush is a path for defeat.

TigerNE writes:

in response to richardcd:

Clemson held USC to 27 points. That's not bad. The problem was that they kept our offense off the field, and we couldn't score. Our offense lost the game.

I agree with richardcd. The defense did all that was expected and then some. The offense was flat as heck after the 1Q and looked like last year. No steam. No fight. A confused Boyd at times. And no play calling to mix it up to change the tempo.

Tiger79 writes:

November 25, 2012
10:48 p.m.
Tiger79 writes:
Ok with 24 hours to digest everything, first less pointing at the defense and the DC, everyone including SC knew about our defensive wows, given that I thing the did a good job. I think BV got to creative and predictable with the blitz's and coverage, but given the amount of time they were out the they did very good and some performed great. That leads us to coach Morris's O, or lack there of, Clowney and the rest of SC top ranked defense did not just appear at Death Valley, we knew what was coming. it was blatantly obvious in the second quarter what ever plan we had was not working, so why did't our very well paid coaching staff make any adjustments at half time? 3 and outs and turnovers did not help a tired defense, were was the screens and hurry up that worked so well earlier this year against good aggressive defenses? yes it is easy to look back and second guess, but if we can see it know why couldn't the guys with the seven figured salaries see it during the game? I am and will always be a Tiger (since '79) and I know that it's about more than the score, but our guys should never quit on the field the way the offense appeared to quit on Saturday.

teeman89 writes:

Look the DC made a dumb call on the 3rd and 19 play in the 4th Qtr. He instructed the LB #46 to blitz by twisting from the middle towards the left side. Thompson saw him vacated that area of the field and immediately straigh up the middle of our defense for a 20 yard gain to seal their victory. This DC must go now not later if Dabo have any good sense.

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