Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables likes his defensive line, and after the way his secondary played in Wednesday’s first full scrimmage of the spring, it’s easy to see why.
“We have a lot of work to do in the secondary,” he said following the Tigers’ scrimmage at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in Clemson. “That was kind of sloppy today. Those are things that probably standout the most.”
Venables said the Tigers are hurting at corner as bad as they did in 2012. That year Clemson ranked sixth in the ACC, allowing 240.3 yards per game, while opposing quarterbacks completed 58.1 percent of their passes and had 23 touchdowns to 13 interceptions.
It was surprising news to hear, especially considering the way Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott bragged about the secondary in the two previous practices. Venables even implied veteran corners such Trayvon Mullen and Mark Fields, along with sophomore A.J. Terrell, struggled in the scrimmage.
“We got what we got,” Venables said. “Hopefully, we can get there with our front four.”
According to Swinney earlier this week, those Mullen, Fields and Terrell have been the bright spots for the corner positions this spring. However, when Venables was asked if Wednesday’s struggles had more to do with the positions’ lack of depth instead of anything Mullen, Fields and Terrell did, he stayed with his original thought.
“It’s all of it,” he said with a little grin. “Just say it and it applies.”
Venables had no answer on how he was going to get the secondary fixed between now and the start of the season. He even joked he might have to look at the graduate senior market.
“I’m just trying to be funny,” he said smiling. “We don’t get graduate transfers here. That’s another school, but not us.”
The Tigers’ questions at cornerback might have to wait until fall camp to be answered. That’s when freshmen Mario Goodrich and Kyler McMichael get on campus.
“These young guys coming in, they’re going to have to come in and play, but we have known that,” Venables said.
Though the media tried to get Venables to elaborate a little more about what exactly the secondary was doing, he would not budge.
“It’s all of it,” he said, again. “It is long term, short term. It made you wanna puke looking at it.”