TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Brent Venables placed the blame squarely on his own shoulders Saturday night. Following No.10 Clemson’s 49-37 loss to No.4 Florida State – which saw the Tigers’ defense collapse en route to giving up 667 yards of total offense, second-worst in school history – Venables said repeatedly coaches were at fault.
That’s a coaching answer: Venables can’t tackle, cover or play linebacker anymore. But he’ll certainly receive his share of heat regardless following a disappointing overall effort.
Venables shared his thoughts about the evening with reporters afterward:
General thoughts: “I’m terribly disappointed. We could have done more as coaches to get our guys to play better. We coached them poorly and at times didn’t get our guys to play particularly well. That said, we had chances in the second half, chances to win the game. They started running the ball when they chose to. We’ve got to get a lot better in a lot of areas. That starts in the run game. You’ve got go back and look at the personnel, see what we’re asking them to do. There’s a lot we’ve got to evaluate, scheme, personnel, everything. I thought our guys competed hard for four quarters. They really did. We didn’t always coach them good, at times we didn’t play good and smart, but I thought our guys fought against a good Florida State team where there’s not a lot of margin for error. Unfortunately we let one slip away. At the same time I think Florida State really took one from us too.”
Were players out of position or didn’t match up with talent: “I think a lot of variables go into it. We’ve got to coach them better. That’s where it starts. I thought they got rapid momentum, made explosive plays and were able to run the ball in the second half. They got all the momentum and didn’t get it back.”
On Clemson's Tackling: “There it is again. It was poor. We’ve got to get a lot better at tackling.”
On the three-man front: “It wasn’t very good. That didn’t work very good. We didn’t perform like we hoped it would. It can get you a lot of things. It gives you a lot of flexibility, doesn’t allow guys to climb quite as quickly, and get on the second level. They’re athletic. They can get on the line of scrimmage. Get on your backers quick.”
Are all jobs open now: “I think that’s always a possibility whether you win or lose. You’re always evaluating and trying to get better and find ways to get better.”
On challenges: “Let’s face it, this game is challenging, it’s difficult, everyone’s got players, everyone’s got guys. We’ll have to get a lot better for us to reach our goals this season. I think our attitude is good.”
On E.J. Manuel: “I thought he played well. Competed well. I thought he got them in and out of some plays like an older, more mature quarterback would do. I thought he got them in some good plays, I thought he played good. I think we helped him too.”
On the breakdowns in fundamentals: “It’ s a lot of things. First and foremost it starts with me. What am I asking our guys to do? Why are they doing things in the running game, the passing game, tackling and cheap scores. Getting punched in the gut in the second half and running at will. There are things we have to examine.”