DeShawn Williams says Tigers must improve sloppy tackling, play-to-play focus

'We watched it, and that's not us. It was us - it wasn't them'

Ball State Cardinals quarterback Keith Wenning is sacked by Clemson Tigers defensive tackle DeShawn Williams in the second quarter.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Ball State Cardinals quarterback Keith Wenning is sacked by Clemson Tigers defensive tackle DeShawn Williams in the second quarter.

Not a happy man.

That's the clear vibe Brent Venables exuded Saturday afternoon, standing in the hallway outside Clemson's dressing room, fielding questions about the Tigers' defensive performance against Ball State.

He emerged from his funk and talked about the excitement of his first game at Death Valley, of the game-day atmosphere he'd heard so much about, and which more than lived up to his expectations, he said.

And he almost grudgingly conceded that the Tigers had accomplished their bottom-line business - a convincing victory in week two of a long season.

Then it was back to what was stuck in his craw: the Tigers allowed Ball State to rush for 252 yards.

"Those weren't trick plays - they run the zone," Venables said. "I go to the negatives first. For me, that overshadows everything. Unfortunately, that's just how I'm wired. I'm focused on the things that opponents see that are going to be there on tape. We've got to be better, and we've got to be more disciplined. There were a lot of people involved, but it starts with the front seven."

At 6:30 a.m. on Monday, Venables had his defense back in the film room, studying the mistakes that resulted in both play-to-play consistency and big plays from Ball State's running game.

"We watched it, and that's not us," said sophomore defensive lineman DeShawn Williams. "It was us - it wasn't them. We missed tackles in the backfield, and inside, we'd have things jammed up and then they'd pop it loose.

"It's not wrapping up. On the one big run, we had him in the backfield."

Williams said a starting point for the Tigers is to take more pride in their play-to-play consistency in stopping the run.

"We have to play every play like it's the last play," Williams said. "That's our focus this week - stopping the run."

Again, the Tigers will go up against a capable running back in Furman's Jerodis Williams.

"Against a team like Furman, we have to focus," he said. "We saw how they played Florida last year."

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