All three linebacker positions up in air

All three linebacker positions up in air

Football

All three linebacker positions up in air

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said his linebackers had a pretty good spring, but they still have a lot of work to do when the team begins preseason practice in August.

“You always want better and you always want more,” he said. “There are always a couple of things we can get better at.”

To push the right buttons this summer, Venables switched things up on the preseason depth chart.

Kendall Joseph, not Tre Lamar, is listed as the starter at middle linebacker, while J.D. Davis is listed as the starter on the weakside. Lamar is backing up Joseph at middle, followed by Chad Smith and Judah Davis. James Skalski and Shaq Smith are behind J.D. Davis on the weakside.

At strongside linebacker, Isaiah Simmons will go into camp as the starter with Jalen Williams listed at No. 2. Venables, who coaches the linebackers, says the competition has been good and guys are working hard, but they still have a long way to go.

“It is what you would normally expect,” he said. “There is a lot of work to still do. The depth chart is far being determined right now. You can look at it and say it is great competition or you are just not blown away.

“It is not like I have a group of guys where the whole group is grading ninety percent. So we have to get better there.”

Joseph says there have been too many mistakes in practice by the linebackers as a whole.

“We have to have the intensity every day and we have to care about our mistakes, learn from them and get better,” he said. “Really, it is about having that edge every day and getting those details down.

“We have a lot more experience, but we still have a long way to go. Like Coach V was talking to us, we are making too many mistakes for as much as experience that we have. So we have to clean a lot of things up, but as far as the guys we have in our group, we care. There has not been a better one. We have a bunch of workers, so we will get it right.”

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