It has not been easy for Venables, Tigers when facing Fisher

It has not been easy for Venables, Tigers when facing Fisher


It has not been easy for Venables, Tigers when facing Fisher


Texas A&M head coach has had his success against the Tigers

Last year, Clemson led the nation in scoring defense and ranked in the top five in both total and rushing defense. Just three teams totaled more than 312 yards on the Tigers last season. Those three were Alabama (443 yards), South Carolina (600 yards) and Saturday’s opponent Texas A&M (501 yards).

It’s not surprising the Aggies were one of those teams. Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher has always schemed up Clemson’s defense pretty well, going back to his days as Florida State’s head coach.

But Fisher’s success against Brent Venables’ defensive schemes goes back further than their head-to-head matchups in the ACC. It goes all the way back to the 2003 BCS National Championship Game when Venables was the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma and Fisher was the offensive coordinator at LSU.

“I spend zero time reflecting on that,” Venables said.

Fisher won that first meeting and the two have tangled nine other times with Venables holding a 6-4 lead in those matchups. However, Fisher’s offenses have held their own for the most part, averaging 26.1 points and 387.9 yards per game.

“Jimbo is a great coach and he has had incredible success,” Venables said Monday. “There are a lot of great coaches out there whether it is Fisher, Coach (Nick) Saban, just go down the list. I really look at schemes and the players, but he had incredible success. He is winner and he knows what he is doing.”

Fisher’s offenses by far have had the most consistent success against Venables. In 2012, Florida State amassed 667 total yards and scored 49 points. A year later, the Seminoles had 565 yards and scored 51 points.

“He has good players, good scheme and good balance,” Venables said. “He is a winning coach. I think he has had success against just about everybody. I don’t know what it is. He is a good coach.”

Since his defense had 51 hung on it in 2013, Venables has got the best of Fisher for the most part. FSU had just 317 yards in 2014 and 361 in 2015. In 2017, they totaled just 229 yards … Fisher’s lowest output against Venables in the 10 meetings.

However, in his first year at Texas A&M, the Aggies totaled 501 yards and rallied in the fourth quarter to nearly tie the game in the final seconds.

“He gets paid $7.5 million a year on his contract, right? That is $7.5 million, so it is not a Clemson thing, right? Right,” Venables said.

The good news for Venables and the Tigers, Clemson has won the last four games when it faced a Jimbo Fisher coached team. The Tigers and Aggies will kickoff Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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