When Tony Elliott first saw Brent Venables show a three-man look this past spring, he thought, “Oh Lord, this is going to be hard.”
He was right, it was.
Clemson’s co-offensive coordinator described Venables bringing Isaiah Simmons from the rafters in the indoor practice facility, with exotic blitzes coming from everywhere.
“It made us get better,” Elliott said.
It’s made Clemson’s defense one of the nation’s best again. The Tigers (8-0, 6-0 ACC) enter this week’s game against Wofford ranked fourth nationally in total defense and sixth in scoring defense. All of this after replacing seven starters from last year’s unit which led the nation in scoring defense. All of this despite losing five starters, including three first-round picks, to the NFL Draft.
Against Boston College this past Saturday, the Tigers held the Eagles to a season low 177 total yards. BC had not been held under 400 yards all season.
“What I noticed and what I have seen is that he is a pioneer,” Elliott said. “He is way out in front of everything, and then other teams kind of watch what he is doing and then they start to emulate and mimic.
“So, I say this is good for us because what you are noticing is a lot more teams are going to a three-man front.”
Seeing all the looks Venables shows Elliott and the offense during their good-on-good drills in practice, helps the offense because there truly isn’t anything they have not seen.
“It is tough because every day when you set rules based off what you saw, the next day he has about three more blitzes that run you hot. You are like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ But now, we can tell our guys there is nothing that we have not seen.
“So, anything that we are seeing, just rely on what we did. We have a plan.”
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