Tuesdays with Brent Venables

CLEMSON - Brent Venables discusses the issues on the defensive side of the ball and looks ahead to Saturday's game at Boston College.

Where do you want to start?
Venables: Boston College, let's go. That's where my eyes are right now.

Who does B.C. remind you of?
Venables: They're a little like Florida State. They get in two-back and run the ball downhill. I think they're a team built to that. I understand that they're recent history, they've been a physical, running football team. They've got Chase Rettig, who's a good player. He's got a big arm, great accuracy, a really good player. He must have been really bad before, because he's really good right now -- he can throw the ball. He's a really good player.

They get into two backs and two tights, spread it out and give four wide looks.

Do you think of them as spread?
Venables: I think they're multiple with what they do. It's no huddle. They tempo. They had Miami running all over the place before the ball was snapped. Northwestern does about one thing on defense, do it about every single snap and they do it pretty good, so they didn't have them running all over. We'll have to think about doing something like that.

Do you have to do anything special this week, to get the guys thinking ahead like you are?
Venables: No. Young people are very resilient. I think that's where you as a leader have got to, hopefully, that's a strength. You treat them like a dog, talk to them like a dog, kick them like a dog, they're going to act like dogs. And they're not. They're a great group of young guys. There's some talent there. They have a great willingness to learn and get better. We recognize where our shortcomings are. All of us have shouldered responsibility for the issues that have taken place.

They recognize that we have a good football team. If we can improve on the things we can control and, at times, have shown we can control, then we're going to have a terrific season. If we don't improve, it's going to take a drastic change. I think they have a sense of renewal.

`Four weeks in, is there hope that the problems stopping the run can improve?
Venables: Yeah, absolutely. There's no doubt about it, without question. It has to happen. I'm frustrated, disappointed. I like to think, more so than anybody -- but there's no question that we can. I expect that we will.

What do you feel like is the biggest issue?
Venables: There isn't one biggest. There just isn't. There are a lot of things. There are mental issues that took place. There are some physical issues that took place. First and foremost, coaching issues, ‘Why is that happening? What are we telling them? Why are some of the things continuing to happen?' We've got to do a better job as coaches, to put them in more successful situations, positions.

When your front group isn't disrupting plays, rushing the passer, how much of it is rooted in that?
Venables: I think, it goes without saying, the great defenses out there are disruptive up front. Without that, you can still be good. I believe that. But the others have to be really good. If they're not disruptive every play where they're wreaking havoc on people, which there aren't many of those around in college football or the NFL. Really good teams have it. The other seven guys need to play at a high level, too.

It's not there right now. Some of it is maturation. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. It's not there with the consistency that you like. It'll come, the more we practice and the more we play. Sometimes you've got to fail, in order to improve. You've got to get challenged…like everything, you want your good players to play great. You've got to get more out of less, sometimes. At some places, we're not doing it like we need to.

Are there any options with personnel?
Venables: I'm disappointed in myself. I didn't get some that were maybe a little bit fresh in there later. I thought that we were a little bit more fatigued. It was obvious. We weren't escaping some of the blocks with the same kind of violence and quickness. That comes back to me. Some of the personnel things, some of the guys are showing me that I have trust in them, to get them on the field in certain situations.

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