Prior to the hire of Brent Venables in 2012, Clemson struggled in its five meetings with Georgia Tech. It struggled to defend Paul Johnson’s triple-option attack.
Since Venables arrived the Tigers (3-0) have mastered defending the option attack winning five of the last six matchups with the Yellow Jackets and in recent years stifling the threat of the triple option.
As No. 2 Clemson gears up for its third matchup with an option-based opponent in the 2018 campaign, the defense is confident about its preparation for yet another option attack when it travels to Atlanta this week to visit Georgia Tech.
Trayvon Mullen is confident in the Tigers’ ability to stop the run, attributing it to Venables’ attention to detail and focus on the intricacies of staying disciplined against misdirection.
“We prepare well and we are ready for whatever they will throw at us that week,” Mullen said. “Venables makes us dig deep to understand the details and specifics, it’s the details and little things that matter to him.”
Not only has preparation set up the Tigers for success against the run but they have had plenty of practice against both Furman and Georgia Southern who find identity in running the football with misdirection.
Clemson’s defense has proven itself to be pretty salty against the run thus far, allowing an average of 89.3 yards per game and 2.09 yards per carry on the ground. Mullen and the defense are more than ready for another rushing attack.
“Coach Venables does a great job getting us prepared, we are ready for almost anything that can come our way with an option team,” Mullen said. “Us playing all of these teams back to back helps us stay prepared.”
As a defensive back, it’s easy to grow tired of the monotony of a “ground-and-pound” offense and Mullen is no exception to this. However, he is still zoned in to the game plan, knowing down the road he will face some air raid attacks.
“It’s been tough, but I’m focused and locked in, I’m not growing weary of the process,” Mullen said. “When we get deeper into the season, a lot will get thrown at us and it will be different when we move into more spread attacks late in the year.”
As for now, Mullen is focused on the task at hand … shutting down another ground attack.