Leadership will carry the defense

Leadership will carry the defense


Leadership will carry the defense


SUNSET, S.C. — Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables spoke to the media Tuesday during Dabo Swinney’s media golf outing at The Reserve on Lake Keowee.

 Venables on the defensive line returning

“For me I don’t get too low and I don’t get overly excited. I treat every year the same, whether we have everybody coming back or nobody coming back. I’m very systematically disciplined in my approach to coach a guy. At the same time, I am excited about their leadership. The experience they bring back and their ability. Because of who they are as people I know how selfless they are. I know the work ethic they’re going to bring to the table, just having a three-year window to look at. I anticipate nothing will change that way. Those are all great things to start from there. Obviously tremendous football players, great leaders and again they’ve really valued putting that paw on. It’s important to them that it’s not about them. Their whole career it’s always been about Clemson, the brand, their teammates, University and the importance of representing it the right way. Sometimes, it hasn’t happened much, but sometimes guys decide to come back for their last year and it’s all about them and what everybody owes them. I know this will not be the case with those guys. It’s a group of guys who have tremendous character and integrity and great focus. I think as much as anything they have a sense of humility to them. They know they have X-Y-Z to get better at and to improve on. But they do a great job as leaders and have a great legacy here.”

Venables on coaching his own son this year

“I’m excited, I’m really excited. When a good talk a few months back about how when he gets to the football facility I’m “coach” to him. For him I think it’s going to be very effortless and for me as well. He is a very disciplined guy. He understands what the standard is and the work ethic it takes and what commitment is. My only concern is that he’s able to have some fun. Don’t be overboard, just have some fun and enjoy college. It’s the best time of your life so take a deep breath and just give it your best shot everyday but I’m really looking forward to it. I’m blessed beyond what I deserve to be able to coach my own son and be a part of this journey with him.”

Venables on Christian Wilkins

“We’ll just do what we’ve done with him. He has been a tremendous player and leader for us. I think he’s shown his ability to play multiple positions, talking about safety just across the front. He’s a jumbo guy that can do a lot of things and if and when we need to, we’ll put him in a position when the matchups are there. He also gives you depth in case something happens from an injury standpoint.”

Venables on Kyler McMichael and Mario Goodrich

“You want to see what their coverage ability is, how much they can pick up off of what they’re able to do during the course of the summer, some of the material that you’re able to send them during the course of the spring, where their knowledge base is and how that transitions out onto the field. How fast they’re able to play and again, we’re a man-to-man team on defense. You recognize that first then see where their instincts are, their natural ability to play with their eyes. We know a little bit more about Kyler. We recruited him for a long time and got in on Mario a little bit later. But again knowing the level of play Kyler comes from. I love that he’s every bit good as a running back as he is a defensive back. He’s elite as a DB so I love the instincts and decision making that that position requires and the skill set as well. So I think those are all things that will transition with him. Then Mario is a physical guy and there’s probably a lot to learn, a little bit more for Mario to learn. Scheme was because we do throw a lot at them. But he’s a competitive, tough kid that loves to play so they’re going to get thrown into the fire. Their ability to transition quickly will really help us if they’re able to do so.”


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