Clemson defense steps forward against Wake Forest

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables motions to decline a penalty during the fourth quarter at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables motions to decline a penalty during the fourth quarter at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Tiger D seeing fruits of labor on field

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— It was a good night to be part of Clemson’s defense. In Thursday’s 42-13 win over Wake Forest, the Tigers took a step forward from last week’s win over Virginia Tech, holding the Demon Deacons to fewer points than they’ve held any opponent this season, limiting them to 290 total yards and recording a season-high five sacks after piling up just nine in the season’s first seven games.

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables discussed his defense’s play and the surprisingly good effort from a thin secondary with reporters afterward.

What did it mean to build on the effort against Virginia Tech: “It was good. Doing it on the road, hoping that what you’ve seen the last few weeks and at times during the year, you could put a lot more of it together at once. Play with more consistency. That’s pleasing. Guys have been working incredibly hard. Now you’ve got to go back and do it again. We’ll have a huge challenge with Duke.”

On backup defensive backs Dante Steward and Cortez Davis: “I thought they did well. They’ve been practicing pretty good. What you wanted and hope is that the way they practice is the way they play in a game. With precision and positioning, and trusting where guys are. Pretty good.”

On using wideout Adam Humphries at cornerback: “He was out there. We did use him. I feel good. Here’s what I like about Adam. He’s competitive. He’s intelligent. He’s tough. He’s fast. He’s instinctual. He’s got good ball skills. He more than fills the void.”

On concerns about Garry Peters’ back injury: “I don’t know with him. I have no idea. I’m not concerned about anything. All those guys who got hurt already, there’s nothing more to be concerned about. I’ve run out of concerns.”

On the play by the cornerbacks: “It was good. I was pleased with their attitude. Their positioning on the ball was good. They competed and did what they were supposed to do.”

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