Brent Venables' defense shows fight on opening night

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables on the sidelines during the third quarter at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta.

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables on the sidelines during the third quarter at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta.

Brent Venables’ defense bent but didn’t break Saturday night.

Following a difficult first half that featured several major coverage busts, the Tigers held Auburn to a trio of second-half field goals that kept Clemson in the conversation for a 26-19 Georgia Dome victory over AU.

It was a tough first night on the job for Venables, who had to adjust on the fly to Auburn offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler’s system. Overall, he was quite pleased with what his defense displayed on a national stage.

An overview: “Every time Auburn guys showed toughness, had to come back in the second half, they didn’t make it easy on us. So I compliment Auburn on a good game plan, and our guys, I appreciate their focus. Between every series we had to make adjustments and show our guys what we were trying to do. But we did a good job of blocking, getting a hat on a hat, and we’ve got work to do, a lot of room for improvement. We’ve got to be more consistent and we can’t give up big plays. But we knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

“Openers are always difficult and it’s hard to get a real DNA on Auburn offensively, what they wanted to do and how they were going to use their personnel. You could see they were pretty flexible at what they do with their personnel sets. I love the activeness of our guys. We made a lot of plays down the stretch. They were really tough on the third and fourth down (late), and we responded to adversity in a big-time way, holding them out of the end zone. To only allow one touchdown, it says a lot about our guys. We’ve got a lot of work to do to continue to improve, but love the tough attitude.”

On making adjustments to Auburn’s offense: “At halftime I was having to try and change defenders based on what they were doing. We hadn’t worked on some things they were doing. What we were doing obviously wasn’t working. In the second half we had to use some things to throw them off balance. They popped a couple of runs on us but we’ll get better.”

On coverage issues: “You’ve got to play good coverage. That’s the bottom line. They’re running 1-2 man routes, you’ve got to have them outnumbered and do a good job in those situations and we didn’t. You don’t get pressure if you run into a brick wall. (Phillip Lutzenkirchen) is very multiple in how they use him. It took time for us to get adjusted to a lot of things that weren’t on tape. Openers are hard, and they’ve got a bunch of skilled talented guys that can do multiple things. Again, that defense is trained to react but it took us a while to get caught up to what they were doing and what their thought process was. But time and again, our guys made some huge stops and responded to adversity along the way.”

On the young defensive line: “I liked the fight in them. It’s hard to say until after I watch (film). I thought they responded and came up with some really big plays in the game, we’ve got to play more consistently in our run defense.”

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Comments » 8

iptaytiger writes:

Great job Venables!!! Keep up the good work

putter2 writes:

Rushing only 3 on 3rd and long with a rookie QB and no blitzing all night is not improvement by the coaching staff at all.

brookesdad729 writes:

in response to putter2:

Rushing only 3 on 3rd and long with a rookie QB and no blitzing all night is not improvement by the coaching staff at all.

In the end it worked so what's the gripe? During their last drive they rushed 3 and we caused him to throw it away and he took a sack to end the game so I don't understand what you mean1

33dtb writes:

So good to finally see some "hit, WRAP, and drive".!!!!
Had some lapses, but we didn't "tap out", thank heaven.
Go Tigers.!!!!

33dtb writes:

in response to brookesdad729:

In the end it worked so what's the gripe? During their last drive they rushed 3 and we caused him to throw it away and he took a sack to end the game so I don't understand what you mean1

I worried also, but why blitz when we are getting significant pressure (for the first time in a while) with just three (3).????

cyclone75 writes:

still seeing the holes from last year.no safety playing center field.end around runs making big plays.got to stop the sweep or ga tech and other teams are gonna show us the door!!

SlappleDapple writes:

It's the coach's call and it worked out for us, but I was calling for some pressure a couple of times, especially that 3rd and 17 (a pretty safe situation to bring the house). If for no other reason than to make all those inexperienced kids think. If you're thinking, you're not playing. I think we'll see more blitz packages as the season progresses

TrevorT writes:

A coach has to do what he thinks will be most effective with the guys he has on the field. They make big bucks to figure out what that is. I was also hoping to see our D be a little more agressive, but I always take into account that the coaches are seeing things that I'm not. Anyway, as long as the tigers have the biggest number on the scoreboard when it's over, I'm not second guessing anyone! GO TIGER D!

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