Venables after Monday's practice

CLEMSON - Defensive coordinator Brent Venables talks about the coverages the Clemson secondary will run this fall, plus what he looks for out of his defensive ends.


How is Stephone Anthony doing?
I'm real pleased with him. He's active, athletic, obviously. He's sudden, explosive, instinctive and loves to compete.

Who are your starting three linebackers?
We're just rotating. Several guys are just kind of taking turns. We're developing, getting an opportunity, both mentally and physically. They have an opportunity to compete. Things are wide-open. We've said all along that we'll judge by a body of work. It's one thing, what you've done in the past, but has zero to do with what you do in the future. It matters what you do now. We want guys to know there's a fighting chance, and an evaluation process going on every day.

Lateek Townsend and the rest of the linebackers are vying for a starting spot this fall.(Hale McGranahan)
Do you get a sense that the guys who played last year want to use what happened to them in Miami as motivation? Have they talked about that in your presence?
[We] have not talked about it at all. Whether it's on their mind or not, [I] can't really say. I think that they're excited. It's a new year. It's a new team. It's a new opportunity. There's enough quality players coming back, if we do things right and are willing to put in the work, we'll have a pretty dang good team next fall. I just think that there's an excitement from that standpoint as much as anything. They're not naïve. They recognize that there are things that we need to work on and they need to work on, individually. There's a great willingness to put in the work, the time and the effort to do so. They're making the sacrifices.

It's four days into it. When the spring's over, you've got the summer. When the summer's over, you've got the fall. It's a good start, though.

How are things looking on the defensive line?
Guys are making progress. We'll have guys that can more than hold their own. I like the athleticism. I like the strength. I like the ability to play with leverage. There's a pretty good football intelligence in there. I think that there's certainly more than hope.

Do you think younger players get in trouble with checks in game, language?
You have to do some. If you think you're going to go in there and line-up in one thing, you're very naïve. As with anything, if they're having to think too much, it's the old thing -- paralysis by analysis…they've really picked up on. The ability to leverage the football, keep the football inside of you. Don't let it get outside. Keep it in front of you. Sometimes you have to make those adjustments on the field in order to keep proper position on the football.

Overall impression of Bashaud Breeland?
He's been good. He's competitive. He's got a great presence about him. He goes against some awfully good players every day. As the saying goes, iron sharpens iron. He couldn't get better work on a daily basis. He loves to compete. I've noticed that he's his own worst critic. He has the ability to really make leaps and bounds in improvement, just as a player, because of that humility that he has and the tough-mindedness that he has.

What have you seen out of DeShawn Williams, so far?
He's active. He's been tough. He likes to compete. He's a good player. He's got quickness. He's got good strength.

I guess he's going to have to be one of the leaders. He's got the most experience coming back with Tyler Shatley coming back.
Is he? Ninety-nine. I know he's 99. He's done a good job.

Do you mix coverages a lot?
It just depends on their ability. If a guy struggles by himself, he won't be on that island very much. If he needs some help, we'll give it to him.

It's not something that you would ideally recruit to?
Maybe they've got great instincts, but they don't have great man skills, so give them some help different ways – take the stress and put it where it needs to be. You've got to play to their strengths and don't as them to do what they can't do. There's always that fine line, once in a while. They're at Clemson. They can cover in man-to-man some. Right?

What's your gut say about this group? Some?
Hopefully, some. We'll be multiple.

What's the difference in defensive end, not having a strong and weak-side, but a left-side and right-side? What goes into making a right or left defensive end?
We want our guys to do, if you only play an open side and a tight end side, people are going to pick the tight end up and trade him all day. Your guy that's just an open side guy will have to play with a tight end. Or when they flip him, you've got to flip. When you start flipping him, they stop him and snap it. That's why you teach technique. Here's what a five does. Here's what a six does, here's what a nine does. Learn it and master it…then, you recruit one mold, instead of two different molds. Top Stories