Tuesdays with Brent Venables

CLEMSON - The Georgia Tech wing bone option, power football at its best, right? Well, not really, according to Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

First in the ACC and third in the country, Georgia Tech averages 329.4 rushing yards per game.

Quarterback Tevin Washington has a team-high 304 yards and 11 touchdowns. B-back Zach Laskey is second among all Yellow Jacket ball carriers with 303 yards while A-back Orwin Smith is third with 245.

Vad Lee, Tony Zenon and Robert Godhigh have all rushed for over 100 yards.

Since Paul Johnson arrived to Atlanta in 2008, Georgia Tech has rushed for more yards than any FBS team.

"They force you to be very precise," Venables said. "They neutralize any kind of athletic ability that you have. It's all about angles. It's not as much about power as it is about angles, getting you a little bit too high or a little bit out of your gap. If you don't have leverage on the football, they'll take advantage of you.

"They're terrific in the play-action game, because of their ability to run the option out of everything, so it leaves a lot of one-on-one opportunities. On the back end, it's high stress coverage."

Georgia Tech is 20th in the country in pass efficiency with a team rating of 160.06. Washington, who has a pass efficiency rating of 158.34, has completed 40 of 64 passes for 660 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

"The gist of it is this: they're going to play possession football. If you make mistakes, they'll capitalize on them, on both sides," Venables said. "They thrive on and become incredibly difficult to beat if you give them the football and additional possessions.

"Their whole deal is to possess the football and grind it out, force you to start panicking and do things out of your comfort zone."

The cut blocks…

Clemson defenders will have to protect their knees on Saturday afternoon because the Georgia Tech offensive linemen are looking for them.

Venables said they'll spend plenty of time during practice this week teaching the proper technique for shedding cut blockers.

"We're going to go after it. It's part of the risk and reward," Venables said. "You don't cut, then you going to get mowed down on game day, because you're not ready for it. You cut, that's a chance you've got to take. I think it's a risk/reward deal that I think our guys need to feel. They need to experience it, so we'll do it."

Options galore…

Discipline is the key when defending the triple option.

"There are so many different variations and influences that make it very difficult to play with discipline. That's the test," Venables said.

He added, "Don't eat the cheese. The cheese is dangerous. It's a trap."

Carlos Watkins' playing time…

Coming out of Chase High School in Forest City, N.C., Watkins was rated by Scout.com as a four-star prospect. Five games into his collegiate career, he's yet to make much of an impact.

Watkins has played 27 snaps in two games. Several factors have kept him on the sideline for a majority of the season.

"Learning what to do and how to do it," Venables said. "Playing with pad level, youthful mistakes, peaking where he shouldn't be peaking -- just a lot of little things that you would expect from most young guys. D.J. [Reader] is just doing it a little more consistent. Carlos has shown signs. He's a big, athletic guy, wants to do well, has got a great attitude."

In other words, Watkins is just a freshman being a freshman.

"He'll be fine. He's going to be a good player," Venables said.

Still surprised…

Five weeks into his first season as defensive coordinator, Venables is surprised that more playmakers have yet to emerge.

"We've got to develop them and get more out of guys. We need some more game-changers, playmakers, when we've got to have a play," he said.

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