Brent Venables was not pleased with the yards allowed by his defense last Saturday in College Station, Texas.
Clemson allowed a whopping 501 yards, including 431 yards through the air, as it narrowly escaped Texas A&M. The Tigers left Texas with a sour taste in their mouth and they were ready to move on and face their next opponent.
Saturday’s game at Death Valley was a different story as No. 2 Clemson stifled Georgia Southern holding it to 140 yards total yards with just 80 of those coming on the ground on the way to a 38-7 victory. Needless to say, Clemson’s defensive coordinator is pleased with his team’s performance.
“Overall, it’s good to feel like you’re in control and play disciplined sound football for every play,” Venables said. “The overall attitude and physicality were great, it’s hard to get five sacks in a game against an option-based team.”
Venables likes the way his unit has competed in every game this year but knows there is room for improvement. He wants to see the defense turn the corner mentally and believes Saturday’s shut down was a step in the right direction.
“I don’t think we struggled with intensity last week, but attention to details is a big part of it that leads to good clean execution,” Venables said. “We have played with great effort for three games. We just have to play smart and coach better because our guys are working hard.”
The defensive line led the charge with five sacks, including two by both defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant. Venables knows when his front-four is making plays that his defense is better as a whole.
“Everything we do is start with those guys up front and they provide a lot for our defense,” Venables said. “We have a lot of work to become a really good defense, but we have good leadership and a right mind.”
Clemson has fared well against the option attack so far this season shutting down Georgia Southern and Furman, but Venables says its ACC road test at Georgia Tech is a step up from earlier weeks.
“We have to improve for Georgia Tech and there is not a big margin for error against their option,” he said. “Just because we have played them well in the past doesn’t mean we have a potion or a magic elixir, it’s fundamentals and technique with physical toughness and discipline.”
The Tigers are back in action next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Georgia Tech.