Tuesdays with Brent Venables
How are you handling the short week of preparation and the challenges with that?
Venables: Boy, it's hard. I don't know why anybody would agree to it. It's really hard. It's my first-time as a coach. From a time management standpoint and trying to keep your guys healthy and fresh, there's just a different approach. You want to talk about not enough time in the day. This takes it to another place. They have the same issues, as well, so you're on level playing field. But it's exciting, too. Literally, after the game, you felt very excited about getting back to work the next day.
With as well as your guys played on Saturday, did they seem excited to get spun back around and playing?
Venables: I think having some success, again, we played, certainly, better than we had for the year, for an entire game where you could say that was a better game. I think they are also excited about wanting more and know we could still play at a much higher level where nobody has to be superman. The challenge of playing with discipline for four quarters, if we could accomplish that without turnovers, I'd be very satisfied if we could accomplish that.
Having success, being 6-1, are we 6-1? I don't know who we're playing after these guys, I think we play Duke. How many more do we have? The challenge of going on the road, the challenge of playing on national television, the challenge of the quick turnaround and the challenge to have an opportunity to play again and compete, having a little bit of success gets you excited for that. This is a team that sounds like they've always played us really, really well.
They're incredibly well coached. They get more out of less, very similar to Virginia Tech in a lot of ways, in how well-coached they are and the consistency of those staffs and how they make you work on your particular side of the ball.
Our guys, they've had a great attitude, really all year. We've got a good group of young men that care and are heavily invested in this program. They've done a great job of leading and continue to invest, week in and week out, so that part of it for me has been a lot of fun to go to work with everyday.
How has Cortez Davis looked this week in practice?
Venables: Good. He's done well.
I'm excited to see him and those other guys get out there and play. They were, obviously, recruited here for a reason. It's fun for me to see guys engaged in practice. Nothing's more disgusting to me than when a guy, a player, is disinterested, whether it's in a meeting or is disinterested in being at practice. We've got a high level of urgency. It's code red.
Can Cortez flip his hips and really move well for the cornerback position?
Venables: Yeah. He's like Deion Sanders out there.
He does well. I think he's excited for the opportunity. Hopefully, it comes for him, and he's ready to perform.
Spencer Shuey, how would you assess what he did last week?
Venables: He played well. He played well. I was very happy with how he managed things, his effort and his toughness. He made the plays he was supposed to make.
How do you feel the pass rush has come along in the past couple of weeks?
Venables: We've got a long ways to go. It's definitely improvement. I think guys are, maybe, getting people in predictable situations earlier in the game, not just having to wait to get to third-down, I think, helps you do that. If you're playing consistently in some of the run defense, then you get them in second-and-long, maybe you're anticipating situations and can play with a little bit more aggression.
Was the decision to go with Shuey rooted in his ability to diagnose some of the horizontal stuff?
Venables: They both have played well and both work incredibly hard and both deserving. I just think that we have a little bit of depth there and trying to change things up. Stephone [Anthony] is an incredibly talented young guy. I think he's got a chance to be a fabulous player and I expect him to be. I'll be disappointed if he's not. You'll continue to see both of them. I think that's good for us that we have a little bit of depth there.
How has Stephone responded?
Venables: Like you would think?
Responded to what, though? He's played. He's been a starter for x-number of games. Both of them have played in all the games, so far this year. Guys that deserve to play that have shown the capacity to play well and do things that we wanted to do deserve to play. I would be disappointed if we had selfish guys on the team. But we don't and he's not. He's very prideful, incredibly coachable, a great worker. I want him to have success. Nothing would make me happier than to see him have that kind of success that he deserves.
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