"I was happy for them," Venables said of his players, after the 38-17 victory over Virginia Tech. "I don't have to be as miserable tonight.
"I've had to be very patient with myself. Our guys have worked hard. We've been close, believe it or not, we really have. We still, fundamentally, have to improve. The beauty of it is you're 6-1."
For the first time since Venables' arrival to Clemson, the Tigers won -- in part -- because of the defense, not in spite of it.
"To have today, a tough, tight game when we can help complement each other on both sides of the ball, it was about time," he said.
But it wasn't a flawless performance by the D. Far from it, Venables said.
"Our tackling was atrocious, at times," he said.
The pick-6…"On the under route, the Nickel/Sam -- I think it was Travis Blanks -- played it great. I think somebody may have gotten a tip on it. And just green grass. They blocked. Garry [Peters] blocked, the d-line blocked. Coach [Dabo] Swinney could have scored on that." - Jonathan Meeks
"That pick-6 was huge. Talk about a momentum turn. That got it done. That's what teams do. Teams pick each other up." - Dabo Swinney
Rough outing by the QB…"I feel like, for me, the offense goes how I go. That's how I feel it is. I feel like the emotion was there but the execution wasn't there. You've just got to do a better job of it. We got a better feel late in the game." - Tajh Boyd
"You come out of an open week. I thought there was a little bit of rush on Tajh. I will say this: he ran the ball well and we won a football game. We're extremely excited about that." - Chad Morris
"There [are] no excuses over here. We've just got to come out and do better. We're starting to get the expectation that we want to score 50 right off the bat. That's just kind of how things go. Sometimes you're going to have one of these games where it takes a little while." - Boyd
"Definitely not his best game, I thought he was a little off. He was off, especially on some of the easier throws that we were to make. We could have kept drives alive." - Morris
"Tajh was a little inconsistent early, but what a competitor. You just have to love Tajh Boyd and the way he plays the game of football, and how he tries to lead the team with guts and toughness. He came up with some big runs down the stretch there." - Swinney
O-line play…"Unacceptable. Totally unacceptable. Embarrassing." - Morris
"There were some miscommunications on some things. We've just gotten to tighten it up and get ready for this game coming up." - Boyd
"[The sacks] are probably not all on the offensive line. Tajh had an opportunity to throw the ball away a couple of times, and that's on him. Those things we've got to get better at. That's something he's done a good job of this year." - Morris
Thursday night in Winston Salem…"From a coaching standpoint, we've got a plan in place. It's just now getting a quick turnaround with the players. Obviously, they've got a quick turnaround as well. So we'll put this one to bed. The celebration is over. We've got to go look ahead to Wake Forest now." - Morris
"It's a quick turnaround. We've got to put this one behind us, right now, and turn it over to Wake Forest." - Meeks
"This is a must win situation for us…coming up in this next game, it's a quick turnaround. We feel like we didn't have our best offensive game. But, coming into this Thursday, it gives us another chance to go out there and do what we need to do. I'm excited about doing what we have to do to prepare for it." - Boyd
"I'd love a little bit more time, like every coach would, but they've got the same issue. I'm very excited to come back to work and go on to the next one. I think our guys sense that, too." - Venables