Nobody is perfect.
That is a phrase Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables wants everyone to keep in mind this year as second-ranked Clemson opens the 2018 season at home at Death Valley against Furman this Saturday at 12:20 p.m.
Ever since defensive ends Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell, along with defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, announced they were coming back to Clemson for another season, all eyes have been on the three guys along with junior defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
In the 2017 season, the four defensive players combined for 25 of the Tigers’ 46 sacks, which led the nation. The group of four, commonly known as the “Power Rangers,” also had 46 combined tackles for loss last year.
Known as the best defensive line in all of college football, the expectations on the field for this monstrous group have never been anything less than exceptional. However, the standards aren’t set high for them just on the playing field, but off of it as well.
Bryant, Ferrell, Wilkins and Lawrence have constantly been praised by coaches, other players, the media and fans for their talent. But their leadership off the field and how great of an example they set for other guys is just as important.
“They’ve just continued to be who they’ve been,” Venables said Monday. “They’ve been good. They’re taking ownership, accountability, great leadership. They show up every day ready to compete.”
With all the praise and hype that comes along with discussing Clemson’s front four, Venables wants everyone to be aware that they are human beings too and it is extremely important to keep that into perspective throughout the season.
“I think the big thing for us is if they have a bad play or bad series or bad day, they’re not perfect,” he said. “I think sometimes we can judge them differently and unfairly. They’re like anybody when it comes to that but they’ve been great.”
And although there is no doubt the “Power Rangers” will continue to be great throughout the course of this season, they will make mistakes just like everyone else.
But those mistakes will not define them as players and will only help the entire team to learn and grow as the Tigers seek to make it back to the national championship for the third time in four seasons.