Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables spoke to the media Tuesday as the second-ranked Tigers prepare to face Georgia Tech Saturday in Atlanta.
The Clemson coach previewed the game as well as had praise for his defense.
Venables previews Georgia Tech
“They’ve been better than most anybody in the country at running it for a long time. Coach (Paul) Johnson has had incredible success. They’ve got a very difficult system to defend…They went up and down the field in all three games this year and we’re going to need a great effort. It’s a little bit different than some of the option that we have seen. We’ve gotten some work from it, but Coach Johnson obviously now has a couple of games worth of film.”
Venables on preparing Isaiah Simmons for Georgia Tech
“Just gotta get Isaiah to be one of eleven, just be really good at being one-eleventh of the defense. He doesn’t need necessarily to be Dorian (O’Daniel), but I think he could get somewhere close to that.”
Venables on avoiding complacency with the option
“Complacent? They got people coming to mow them down every snap…This is a different style and a different level of athlete and precision, it’s just a different type of attack. Complacency is something I have no worries about whatsoever.”
Venables on Xavier Thomas meeting the expectations
“Xavier has done a great job with working, learning, and the effort day in and day out. The more he’s practiced, the more reps he takes, the better he’s gotten. And, so, he’s met our expectations, and we’re just seeing him scratch the surface of what he can be.”
Venables compares Xavier Thomas as a freshman to Clelin Ferrell as a freshman:
“He has that freakiness and his speed is faster than all of these guys. I say he’s a little bit ahead because he’s stronger than Clelin, and he’s more physically developed.”