Clemson D allowed 8 plays of 20 or more yards in Wednesday’s scrimmage
To say Brent Venables was not happy at the end of Wednesday’s scrimmage is an understatement.
Clemson’s defensive coordinator was irritated with his unit when he came off the field at Death Valley.
“We did not play very well,” he said to the media. “We have a lot of work to do.”
Venables was especially irritated at his leadership on defense. Though he did not say any names specifically, it appeared a lot of his aggravation went towards the defensive line where he said some of the leaders where jumping offside, were checking out of plays early and just were not focused.
“They can do so much,” Venables said about his leadership. “Other guys have to take reasonability to about knowing what to do, playing with their technique and all that kind of stuff.
“It is not all on leadership but again, when leaders are lining up offside or jumping offside, quieting in the middle of a play that surprises me.”
Venables said the defense opened the scrimmage with a defensive back lined up offside. On the next play a defensive lineman jumped offside and then on the third play, a player quiet in the middle of the play and the offensive player went in for a touchdown.
“That is not being very disciplined,” Venables said. “You are not good, let alone great, when you line up offside. You are undisciplined when you jump offside in the first place and then you stop in the middle of the play and it is a touchdown.”
Venables did say there were some good plays so he hates being the Debbie Downer of the coaching staff or as always “Mr. Negative.”
“I call it like I see it,” the Tigers’ defensive coordinator said. “If they earn it and make a competitive play, then that is great. More power to them.”
The defensive players’ body language and attitude was not where it needed to be on Wednesday, according to Venables, and it showed in the scrimmage.
“There were too many mistakes,” Venable said.
“All three units that you run out there are your defense,” he continued. “It is not like, ‘the D-Line played well and they didn’t!’ Well, your unit suffers. The backers did not play well, but the DBs did. This is not DLU. This is the Clemson defense. Whoever runs out there on that field or the practice field or in that weight room that is our unit. Those guys say ‘We did our thing.’ That is not how it works. I wish it did. ‘We won two out of three.’ It does not work that way.
The Clemson offense owned the scrimmage as it had all four of its quarterbacks—Kelly Bryant, Hunter Johnson, Chase Brice and Trevor Lawrence—throw at least one touchdown pass.
Bryant, who finished the game with four touchdown passes, threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Amari Rodgers on the third play from scrimmage. It was the first of eight plays of 20-plus yards on the afternoon for the offense.
“In our first scrimmage, the first-team unit played really well, but today, nobody played,” Venables said. “We came out right away with no kind of energy, intensity, the way you have to play this game. There was no edge.
“We lacked the leadership. We lacked the consistency and we just did not play with any kind of focus. I thought we were just kind of going through the emotions.”