Want to know how practice 13 of Clemson’s spring went? Not well, defensively, and Brent Venables was more than willing to let you in on that.
He returns a defense with seven starters and several more reserves that have seen the field over the last few seasons. There’s also a crop of talented upstarts competing on the front-seven and secondary.
Venables aiming for execution, effort in spring game
Wednesday, however, was not a display of the Tiger defense at its best.
“If you want to play at a high level and have success, you have to earn it,” Venables said. “You have to work. Can’t cheat this game. Can’t just show up and expect people to roll over for you. Got to invest in the process, come with the right mindset – be on edge. Or you’re going to be get exposed.
“That happened out there today. It was like we were playing the Green Bay Packers out there today.”
Some coaches may relish the teaching opportunity, but Venables appeared to be clearly disgusted with what he saw from his unit in Death Valley over the afternoon.
Long after the rest of his peers had left the field, the third-year coordinator was still out there with his linebacker group as the media watched from a distance.
“I don’t like it ever,” said Venables. “I don’t think it’s alright. It’s unacceptable. It’s not OK. You sit there and accept it as a coach - that’s probably what you’re going to get. I’m disappointed in the lack of leadership this late in the spring."
His standards are high, he admits, but the performance he saw was a low of lows just before the the Orange-White game on Saturday.
“(To) not have our guys ready to compete in practice starts with us coaches and for our guys to fart around – (the Clemson offense) got after us on defense today,” Venables said. “That’s not OK. I don’t expect that. I don’t give them a mulligan.
“Can you be the same emotional high-pitch every time out there? No, you also know when it’s at the other extreme. That’s never acceptable. Ever.”