Venables' weekly wrap up

CLEMSON - The last of the news and notes from this week's interview with first-year defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

What's the feeling with the players getting used to you and you getting used to them, from spring ball to now the first game?
Venables: We've got great comfort levels with each other. It was a pretty seamless transition, on my part. I thought there was a strong willingness from both coaches and players alike, to buy in, to learn what we wanted to do, to accept the things that we were demanding of them. It's been very good. I've been very pleased with their attitude.

Talk about how exciting it is for you to go into a first game and to see what you've got when real bullets fly.
Venables: That's kind of the unknown for me, personally, to see how our guys are going to respond. Learning the different personalities, their temperament on game day, the toughness that it takes to face adversity that's inevitably going to happen. Just to see who's got that competitive edge to them. The leaders, what type of leaders emerge. The mental and physical toughness that game day demands. We're going to find real quick who's ready for it and who isn't.

Is it kind of unique for you going into a situation for you that's totally new?
Venables: It is. Every day, it seems like there's something new or it's for the first time. That's exciting. It's also a little bit unnerving. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. That's part of the challenge, to grow from a professional standpoint. But it's been a lot of fun. The challenge of facing a new platform, a new stage, it's pretty neat, pretty special at a place like Clemson. The first game I'm coaching, we're playing a game against Auburn in Atlanta, so it's pretty exciting.

What's your feeling on how guys have responded to you?
Venables: You don't spend a whole lot of time on it, other than if you've had any type of resistance. That's never good, but it's been good. I haven't really had any experience on that, for the most part. The guys have a great deal of maturity, strong character guys that want to win and understand what winning is. There's a strong foundation of success here.

Thirteen years ago at Oklahoma, they hadn't had a winning season in five years. There's a lot of elements or obstacles that you're having to fight. Obviously, what comes with that is resistance. Resistance is a change. It hasn't been that way. The last three weeks, the guys have grown more confident in what we're doing and I think that they're excited. I think they feel they can have success, but you still have to go earn it.

You have to go earn it every day. You've got to earn it on game day. It's not all going to be easy. It's not all going to be good. It's not all going to be perfect. But I think that's what I'm excited about, to see our guys respond when there's some adverse conditions. Revealing of character will take place on Saturday.

Did anybody take a major step forward in camp?
Venables: It's hard to single out any one particular guy. I've liked the toughness and the fight of our inside players. Vic Beasley has done some -- in every scrimmage -- he's done some things that are awfully good. Our corners have been very consistent since the spring and carried that over through fall camp. I really like our three safeties that we have along with Robert Smith. Those four, I'm pleased with those guys.

What are the strengths going into this game?
Venables: I think it's the collective group, say our 11 starters. I don't think there's any one strength, whether it's a position group or a player over another. Collectively, they've shown a propensity to play well together. They understand each other and what their roles are. Just the discipline that it takes, I think that's the strength more than anything.

Do you feel fired up and ready to get on that field?
Venables: No different than I ever do. I value and respect the process as much as anybody…I have a sense of urgency and the guys around me do as well. Game day will get here soon enough. I'm excited about it, just like everybody, but understand the process that it takes to get ready for the game.

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