Phillips playing SAM/nickel position
Following Clemson’s second and final full scrimmage of camp on Thursday, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said his defense is right where it is supposed to be two weeks before the top-ranked Tigers’ kick off the 2019 season.
However, that doesn’t mean the Tigers are where last year’s defense was at this time last year.
“We are probably right where we are supposed to be, all things considered,” Venables said afterward from Memorial Stadium in Clemson. “We got a lot to do to get better. We are not a great unit, yet, but hopefully, we will be.”
Venables said he is trying to build his defense like he has all his others, through repetition, hard work and sometimes tough love.
“You got to run then into a wall to make them like you,” he said with a smile. “Whatever that looks like.”
The goal is to build depth, something he and head coach Dabo Swinney agree is not there just yet.
“We have to continue to build our depth all the way around,” Venables said.
Here are some news and notes from Thursday’s scrimmage at Death Valley.
*First team defense did well. While the second-team defense struggled. The first-team defense went against the second-team offense, while the second-team defense had to face the first-team offense. Swinney said it was good experience for the second-team defense.
*Venables said there were way too many penalties in the scrimmage.
*Defense did well in two-minute situation, goal line, short yardage and did well coming off the goal line.
*First group of defensive linemen has improved. Venables said there are about eight guys who have made improvement since they started camp.
*Linebackers Baylon Spector and Jake Venables missed the scrimmage while nursing hamstring injuries. Justin Mascoll (no word on the injury) was banged up and fighting through injury. He did not finish the scrimmage due to the injury. Logan Rudolph (no word on the injury) went down with an injury early in the scrimmage. Venables said it does not appear to be an injury that will cause him to miss any extended period of time. Justin Foster did not participate in the scrimmage due to injury.
*Cornerback Mario Goodrich was also banged up in the scrimmage and left early.
*With Derion Kendrick out at the field corner position, there is no one who has really separated and gained ground on Kendrick. Sheridan Jones, Andrew Booth and LeAnthony Williams have all been sharing reps with Kendrick out. Kendrick has missed most of fall camp with hamstring injury. He missed Thursday’s scrimmage to attend a funeral of one of his high school teammates, who passed away last week.
*Freshman Jalyn Phillips is playing both SAM and nickel as well some safety. Venables says he has done some really good things and is an aggressive player that will tackle.
*Venables says freshmen linebacker Keith Maguire, Kane Patterson and LaVonta Bentley have been very physical and will strike anyone in the PAW (Oklahoma) Drill. They fight, get off blocks and are very tough. He says he has been pleased with that group of guys.
*Linebacker James Skalski has a had very good camp, according to Venables. He said he has seen everything you want to see from a middle linebacker from Skalski.
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