Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables reviewed the standout players and what the Tigers can improve on from the Georgia game...
Reviewing Georgia performance: It was a huge challenge obviously. Three-straight (scoring) possessions they went body blow, body blow and upper-cut. Our guys stayed on their feet and fought back. Somebody said they scored a touchdown in their last 10 possessions so that’s pretty good. Still there’s a number of things to clean up within those 10 possessions as well.
I’m pleased in a lot of ways and displeased in a number of other things. If we weren’t able to rush the quarterback, if we weren’t physical if we didn’t have intelligence, if we didn’t have ability – I’d be incredibly concerned. I feel like I know our guys and I know how they’ll work to fix the mistakes that were made. We were physical, we played with great effort and rushed the quarterback. I like our guys upfront. As you continue to build as a defense, they make it a lot easier.
Clemson DE Vic Beasley’s first start: Not sure what he graded out at (but) he rushed the passer well. He’s got that ability. He was fine in the run game. It’s a great start. Any time you can affect the QB the way we did up front – and he was a big part of that – that’s always going to be a big factor to get after people.
Tigers face tempo-led SC State team
Watching FSU Monday versus Pitt: It’s an opportunity to scout ahead. I’m sure they watched us the other night. Yeah definitely, they looked pretty good.
IQ of defense: I don’t really want to compare it to last year, but I do think it’s a group that has a strong understanding of what we want and it’s a group that has invested heavily in just knowing football. Whether it’s philosophy or situation, our total overall awareness is definitely improved. As a coaching staff you feel like they get it. They understand not only what calls mean and what’s it good for and what the stresses are. When you understand what the stresses are you have your guard up for those situations.
Defensive standouts (Stephone Anthony) was excellent. It was his best game since I’ve been here. I thought he was aggressive and sure of himself. Played well.
A whole bunch of guys did really. There’s a lot of guys that I just loved. I loved how aggressive our guys were and how physical they were. I loved the effort that we played with. That gives you a great start. Our guys were confident that we were going to win and respectful and humble at the same time. I think they were that way because they earned that right to feel that way. As opposed to it’s a big game and GameDay – you don’t win that way. As a group, it’s been an evolution if you will. As a group we have a really good chemistry with our top-22-23 guys.
Guys like B.J. Goodson came in there and was stoning people and in good position. Korrin Wiggins came in there and we blitzed him right into the run and he smoked them. Spencer Shuey was in there for (18 tackles) and he’s around the ball a lot. There’s a number of guys that played. For Stephone, you build your defense inside out. To have a middle linebacker to play with the assuredness and physicality and stay on your feet and blitz the right way makes a big difference.
Clemson LB Quandon Christian physical, sound in first game: I thought he was physical. He played over the tight end and set the edge. Those were some big tight ends. Was physical on the perimeter and they had the swing pass early and he goes out there and hits him. He’s got a number of things he can work on from that game, but he looked to be more physical than he has been and can still improve.
Clemson freshman DE Shaq Lawson’s debut: He was nervous, but he’s got a bright future and he loves to play and he’s physical. He’s going to be alright.
Venables talks SC State, UGA review
Is this the unit that can slow up elite offenses?: I don’t look at it that way. Every week you have this level of expectation. If you do this, this will happen. If we do that, that will happen. Regardless of who you’re playing, different teams and different offenses stress you in different ways because of what they’re good at. Are we capable of playing at a high level? Yes, I think we’ve displayed that. You’re talking about a program – the elite programs are consistent. The same thing for a player – you have to be consistent. You don’t have to be keeping teams under 100 yards every week to be that. You have to make them earn what they get. You can’t not have the (play)call (in). That’s inexcusable. You can’t continue to have excuses for failure because it’s not acceptable. We have to do those things before we can say, ‘Yes, we’re capable of doing that.’ We have to have those things right. Are we capable? Yeah, but you have to do it in a game and do it in a consistent amount of time.
A year ago were they in a capable spot?: I just probably didn’t know. I don’t think I was qualified to say so one way or the other. There were too many unknowns to be honest with ya. We did a number of things really, really well when it was all said and done. We did too many things incredibly bad as well. We’ve got enough guys and the right guys no doubt.
More on defensive development: The zone play a year ago was like a trick play. When you’re not sound that way, it’s hard to put everything else together. I think they popped a couple runs and they’re pretty good upfront and we certainly weren’t error-free by any notion. Just a lot more physical, a lot more gap integrity and a lot more discipline. A lot more aggression and we were certainly a lot more physical than the opener last year.
We felt good coming out of last week’s game as far as our leverage from the back end. We made some mistakes from our guys just not getting the call or not covering their man. We have to do a better job in helping guys that are further away from the signals. We’ll work on that and you can get better at that through signals. Just night and day, we handled the two-minute situation a lot better than a year ago.