By Will Vandervort.
By Will Vandervort
CLEMSON — If Brent Venables had his way, No. 13 Clemson would be playing Wake Forest this Saturday, instead of having to turn around in five days and have his group ready to play on a Thursday night in Winston-Salem, N.C.
“Boy it is hard,” Clemson’s defensive coordinator said Tuesday in his weekly meeting with the media. “I don’t know why anyone would ever agree to it. It is really hard.”
It’s also the first time as a coach Venables has had a short week to prepare for a football game.
“From a time management standpoint and trying to keep your guys healthy and fresh, there is a different approach,” he said. “You want to talk about there is not enough time in a day, this takes it to another place.”
Venables acknowledges Wake Forest (4-3, 2-3 ACC) has the same issues as well and knows they will be playing on a level playing field. That makes Thursday night’s 7:31 kickoff even more exciting because there is no break. It’s time to get back to work and play football again.
“It’s difficult as far as getting your body healed and getting it prepared for such a quick turnaround after playing such a physical game against Virginia Tech, but I think as a team we have embraced it,” middle linebacker Spencer Shuey said. “We get a chance to play on national television and get an extra weekend off, which will be nice. We will be able to sit in front of the TV and watch some other games.
“But, we don’t set the times on when or where we play. We can control only what we can control, and right now that is preparing for Wake Forest.”
Clemson (6-1, 3-1) hopes the short week doesn’t affect the momentum its defense has built up the last two games. During their three-game winning streak, the Tigers have forced seven turnovers and are allowing only nine points per game in the second half.
Last week Virginia Tech only scored 17 points, the first BCS-school Clemson held under 20 points this year.
“This is just the beginning,” said Shuey, who started for the first time at middle linebacker last week. “I think coming off such a good performance is going to help us come out Thursday night. We have had more time with the system and more time with the defense.
“Everyone is starting to get more comfortable. Everyone is getting more comfortable with the players around them and what their jobs are. We trust each other. We trust our coaches and trust their calls. We are not trying to do too much. We are doing just what they ask us to.”
With only five days to prep for Wake Forest, Venables says there is a delicate balance of trying to learn what you can about the Demon Deacons, while also making sure his defense understands what their assignments are.
“So often it comes back to you,” Venables said. “You have to understand what you do. There are concepts and you have to relate them to what you are seeing. Every week you see things that are different, that have different wrinkles. Wake has a history of doing that, and this week will probably be no different.
“If the players understand what we are doing, then I think it helps them. There were situations last week, where our guys just applied concepts. There was no big turnover and the quarterback’s face did not get ripped off so no one really gets excited, but as coaches, we do. That shows that they are kind of getting it now so this week is no different from that standpoint.”