Despite his defense giving up three touchdowns on the scrimmage’s first four drives Saturday, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables was in a good when he spoke to the media afterward at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.
Venables was very open about his defense and where certain players stand when the team resumes fall practice on Monday.
Here are some news and notes from the happenings on the defensive side of the ball in camp.
*Venables says freshman defensive tackle Tyler Davis continues to be very consistent.
*Fellow defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney returns to practice on Saturday, but he took very few snaps in the scrimmage.
*Venables singled out cornerback A.J. Terrell. The junior continues to have his best camp since he has been at Clemson.
*Cornerback Derion Kendrick (hamstring) did not play in the scrimmage.
*The defensive ends have been a pretty good group, according to Venables, but he also says they have been a little inconsistent with some of the younger guys. He still thinks they have a chance to be a good unit.
*He really likes the first group of linebackers. As a group overall, they have to play with great intensity and great emotion.
*Isaiah Simmons pick-six on Saturday was a 100-yard return. The senior one-handed the football and then took it to the house.
*Freshman linebacker Mike Jones, who backs up Simmons, has really transitioned and is playing a couple of positions. He has leaned up and has shown up on the field.
*Venables said Jalyn Phillips, Mario Goodrich, and LeAnthony Williams have looked really good at times playing the nickel position in obvious passing situations.
*Williams, Goodrich and Sheridan Jones have also done a nice job at cornerback.
*Freshman Andrew Booth is really aggressive and long. Despite doing some things he did not do in high school, schematically and he has really caught on.
*Defensive end Xavier Thomas has made some improvements in camp, but the coaches are looking for him to add another step. Venables said Thomas has really had some moments in camp and has got himself better.
*Thomas was playing with the first-team defense on a lot of snaps Saturday. So was Logan Rudolph. They all took reps with that second group. Venables says Rudolph (6-2, 255) just plays fast and plays like he is 270 pounds on every snap.
*According to Venables K.J. Henry has transformed his body and has really made some progress.
*Ruke Orhorhoro and Etinosa Reuben have made some improvements. Venables said Reuben has suffered some nagging injuries that caused him to miss Saturday’s scrimmage.