Venables: Tigers can't play timid against South Carolina

Clemson defensive back Bashaud Breeland tackles The Citadel running back Jake Stenson in the second quarter.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Clemson defensive back Bashaud Breeland tackles The Citadel running back Jake Stenson in the second quarter.

CLEMSON - Two weeks of option football down, a date on the road with the Gamecocks to go for Brent Venables' defense.

Against Georgia Tech and The Citadel, Clemson held the run-geared schemes to 84 less rushing yards a game combined - with 20 tackles for loss. Against the Bulldogs, the Tiger 'D' held an opponent without a touchdown for the first time in 33 games.

The task changes this week, however, as South Carolina hurt the Tigers through the air last season (310 yards/3 TDs) in a 27-17 win in Death Valley. The second-year defensive coordinator wraps up The Citadel and looks ahead...

Tigers are better, but can't play timid versus Gamecocks: They're a good football team. Well-coached. Good players. They've been tough, disciplined. We didn't coach or play them well last year. Will be a great challenge that we're looking forward too. Saturday will get here soon enough.

I think we're a better unit than we were a year ago, but does that mean we'll play better? No it doesn't. We'll need a good week of how we work and investment and we need to go out there and execute. Play on the balls of our feet and you have to have a go for broke attitude. Football, you can't play in a timid way, certainly this game. It will be a good physical challenge for us and our guys are excited for that challenge. I think we're playing with a different level of confidence than a year ago and just playing at a more consistent level as well.

The Citadel's run attack: The Citadel has some really good schemes and unique ways to leverage and get outside of you. A couple drives they were working us inside and going to the boundary, they did a good job of trying to keep us off-balance. The option teams present different issues both physically with their blocking schemes and certainly stress mentally and stress in space.

Quandon Christian's status (ankle): He thinks he'll practice Monday. He's walking around so I expect him (back).

Did the Tigers peek ahead to South Carolina last week?: I don't like that. I have respect for how to play the game and to respect the opponent. I would never put the cart before the horse. Everything has its time. Last week was a time invested in The Citadel and now it's time for the next one. One game is never any bigger or better - they're all important as you go. I'm not wired that way.

More on the performance Saturday: I thought it was pretty good. I liked the energy our guys played with. I thought they executed really pretty good. Played with good effort. We got a bunch of guys out there and thought we were in pretty good shape today.

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Comments » 6

TigerNE writes:

Wish he would have been pressured about plans to cover for Blanks being out.

And I wonder if he realizes how weird it sounds to the fans when he says they can't play 'timid'. Timid is NEVER allowed in football. Why even suggest it? It may happen, but it's never a good thing. That statement ranks up there with ones like, "they have to play to win...". Yeah. That's always the case.

I give Venables and our defense credit for proving throughout the season they are steadily improving. And in the last two games they have proven that both play and coaching is there. Now finish off the regular season with a landmark D performance.

TigerFan95 writes:

We cannot let SC keep the ball almost the entire second half like last year. Stopping their running game will be key. SC almost always has one big play for a score per game and we almost always give one up per game. We cant let that beat us if it happens. The biggest key on D however will be stopping Connor Shaw from running and forcing him to make throws. To do that we should take UF's approach and bring a contained pressure up front with a LB spy. If we do the above and give our offense enough possessions I feel we win in a close shootout similar to the UGA game. If we don't I see this one getting ugly for the Tigers similar to the FSU game.

TigerNE writes:

in response to TigerFan95:

We cannot let SC keep the ball almost the entire second half like last year. Stopping their running game will be key. SC almost always has one big play for a score per game and we almost always give one up per game. We cant let that beat us if it happens. The biggest key on D however will be stopping Connor Shaw from running and forcing him to make throws. To do that we should take UF's approach and bring a contained pressure up front with a LB spy. If we do the above and give our offense enough possessions I feel we win in a close shootout similar to the UGA game. If we don't I see this one getting ugly for the Tigers similar to the FSU game.

I like our chances to stop their running game a whole lot better than our chances to really clamp down on their passing. With Blanks out we will have to rely more on less consistent players (Jenkins?) and some newer less experienced ones (Kearse?). We were even pretty effective at slowing Gurley in the first game if you take away the big busted coverage run of 75 yards.

TigerFan95 writes:

in response to TigerNE:

I like our chances to stop their running game a whole lot better than our chances to really clamp down on their passing. With Blanks out we will have to rely more on less consistent players (Jenkins?) and some newer less experienced ones (Kearse?). We were even pretty effective at slowing Gurley in the first game if you take away the big busted coverage run of 75 yards.

Blanks played inconsistent as well and I think we'll be fine with Kearse as long as he doesn't get worn down. Jenkins just need to go without dislocating his shoulder. Shaw's running concerns me most. We must contain him while still getting pressure on him. Our LB's and DE's, especially Vic Beasley tend to over pursue a lot. That can kill you against a player like Shaw.

TigerNE writes:

in response to TigerFan95:

Blanks played inconsistent as well and I think we'll be fine with Kearse as long as he doesn't get worn down. Jenkins just need to go without dislocating his shoulder. Shaw's running concerns me most. We must contain him while still getting pressure on him. Our LB's and DE's, especially Vic Beasley tend to over pursue a lot. That can kill you against a player like Shaw.

You can never predict it perfectly, but it seems like Shaw has been on a slide down since they barely beat Missouri. His rushing averages are in the tank - well, except against CCar, but come on. So it may not take as much pursuit.

I trust Beasley and Jarrett and I'm sure they want big games. I'll even throw Shuey and Christian in there as two who want to go out with a bang. And Venables has proven he won't put up with mediocre play for too long, so I expect he'll play the substitution game for as long as it takes to get the right guy settled and on target. The problem is we are thin from the midfield onward and he only has so much talent against the pass. At least that's how I see it.

CUNo1Fan writes:

The key to winning the game will be the LOS battle. The Tigers win the LOS battle between their O and our D by containing Shaw and putting pressure on him, we win the game. The Tiger O line must also hold their own against Clowney and crew to establish a decent run game and to give Boyd the time in the pocket for the receivers to get free.

It's all gonna come down to who wins the battle of the trenches.

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