Signs of progress

CLEMSON - After watching his defense put together a solid outing during Monday's scrimmage, Brent Venables didn't have too much to say.

Maybe he's hesitant because of last season when Clemson gave up 396 yards and 24.8 points per game.

If Monday's scrimmage was a sign of things to come, the Tigers will be better on that side of the ball in 2013. That certainly would help as Clemson looks to make a run at a couple of championships this fall.

The following is a transcript of Venables' interview on Monday.

Thoughts on the scrimmage?
Venables: I liked our attitude that we came out with, and we played with a good edge to them today. They had a good attitude, toughness. They played with effort. The first three-fourths of the scrimmage was pleasing, from an effort standpoint, and an attitude. Then, it was pretty inconsistent after that…I like the direction that we're heading.

Is Vic Beasley for real?
Venables: We'll see. I think he's still a process. I think he's getting better. He needs to still continue to add weight and strength, all of that. I think that he's shown he's capable of making some plays.

How has Beasley been against the run?
Venables: It's good. It's been solid. So, like everybody, got to keep getting better. He plays with good leverage. Knows how to use his hands. Understands gap control and all that. Plays with discipline…making improvement.

Is attitude and toughness the biggest thing you can hope for during the spring?
Venables: There's a lot to hope for. That gives you a chance to play and be successful, and develop, get better. If you don't have attitude, you don't have a chance. Attitude and emotion is a great equalizer on the field. It can make up for – there are plenty of mistakes when you scrimmage, trust me. It won't be near as good watching the video than when you're live and in person, watching guys flying around, hitting and being physical, having some fun and playing with emotion and some toughness. You take the good with the bad.

What do you want to see on Saturday?
Venables: Be healthy. I'd rather practice than scrimmage. But play hard, be disciplined and stay healthy.

Another good day for Kellen Jones, statistically?
Venables: I don't know how many other good days he was having. Today was good. This was a good day. He showed up and he made improvement today.

How about the other linebackers?
Venables: Quandon Christian didn't play. He was sick. So we had to move Tony [Steward] out there. Some of our non-scholarship guys that were backing up there weren't there, were injured, too. So we moved Tony out there. He did pretty good for just [moving last minute]. I found out with Quandon here this afternoon, that he wouldn't be practicing. Kind of gave him a crash course at the strong-side position. That was good. T.J. Burrell was back out there. [Spencer] Shuey and Stephone [Anthony] were really good. B.J. [Goodson] did some good things. As a group, I think it was pretty solid.

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