Steward's role undecided

CLEMSON - Dabo Swinney wants Tony Steward to play. Based on his comments after Saturday's scrimmage, it appears that Brent Venables thinks otherwise.

Earlier this summer, the head coach adamantly stated that Steward will not redshirt this season.

Venables wasn't as firm when asked for his opinion on whether Steward would or would not contribute in 2012.

"I don't know. I'm a next week, next month, next year kind of guy, just as far as trying to plan," Venables told CUTigers. "We'll see. I don't want to waste anybody's time. We always have the big picture in mind, not just kind of living for the moment."

Steward, who sat out most of his freshman season after tearing his ACL, is competing for time at weak-side linebacker with Jonathan Willard and Corico Wright.

According to Venables, Steward played well on Saturday.

"He feels comfortable in the defense. I could probably say that from the first day. He looked comfortable. That's a very positive thing," Venables said.

GRADING THE SCRIMMAGE: Venables was blunt when asked if there were individuals he wanted to brag about after the scrimmage.

"Not really," he said. "It's hard for me to say. I saw good and bad, both -- guys that made some plays. Lateek [Townsend] made some plays, but he's not lined up right half the time. Get him squared away he can be a problem for people. He's not the only one.

"Just some good and some bad -- I like the attitude. I like the chemistry, leadership from guys on our defense. They like each other. They don't mind coming out to compete. They've got a hunger and willingness to work.

"I think they're looking to redeem themselves from a year ago."

TO IMPROVE UPON: There is one area in particular that Venables would like to see improve before the season starts on Sept. 1 in the Georgia Dome against Auburn.

"More depth, more quality players and just deeper, just in case -- what if," he said.

Staying healthy will play a big part in that quest.

"If our guys continue in the same positive mindset, the willingness to work and invest in the process, that's what it's about," Venables said.

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