Upsets happen in college football, which is what makes the game fun, but Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables respects the game too much to allow his defense to lose focus and allow an upset to happen.
Venables has a different mindset when it comes to preparing for games and preventing the unlikely to happen. To him, the game is a math problem that he is trying to solve.
“I’m very systematic. If you do X,Y, Z, this is going to be the result that you get,” he said. “I’m very much a believer in the process and the preparation, and what you see every day and throughout the week. I’ve got a lot of respect for the game and the opponent, the coaching, and for the things that happen within the game. I really try to prepare for stress, prepare for adversity, not just myself but in particular your players, so they don’t have this false sense of security.”
Venables largely focuses on not only preparing his player’s bodies, but their minds as well, training his players to gain respect for the game and never feel a sense of security.
“Even though we have a great week of prep, we match up well, whatever it is, you try to get them to have great respect for the game,” he said. “When you have the kind of focus and sense of desperation, a great deal of urgency, because of the respect for the game and the opponent, and the schemes, or things that are out of your control on the other side of the ball, or the kicking game, just a lot happens.
“Our program develops that as well, the tough mindset and the belief, the confidence. We’ve got great cohesion and trust and chemistry, which helps you through. There’s no finger pointing or things of that nature.”
Venables and the rest of the Tigers will take on Virginia this Saturday in Charlotte for the ACC Championship, where Clemson hopes to bring home its fifth straight title.