NEW ORLEANS – By now fans know about Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables’ official ‘get back coach’ Adam Smotherman.
Venables tends to get pretty animated during games and shortly after his arrival, head coach Swinney stuck Smotherman on get back duty. He keeps the defensive coordinator off of the field of play and prevents the team from being penalized for a sideline warning.
The Clemson Insider spoke to Smotherman at College Football Playoff National Championship Media Day ahead of third-ranked Clemson’s matchup with No. 1 LSU, where he undoubtedly has a stiff task containing Venables.
Smotherman is an assistant strength coach for the football game but admitted corralling Venables is more difficult than it looks.
“There is a lot of instinct involved in it so you have to go in there and know what you’re getting into,” Smotherman said. “Coach Venables is a pretty powerful dude and pretty wirey so you just have to sink your hips and strike when the time is right.”
Smotherman takes pride in playing his role on game day and knows it proves beneficial to avoid unnecessary penalties.
During some games in the heat of the moment Venables swatted Smotherman away or can be seen on television yelling at him to back away. But throughout the tension the two have remained great friends and the relationship has helped Venables to maintain his intensity without costing the team.
“We have a great relationship and we’re all in this together to help each other out. I’m just playing my role to help him do his job,” Smotherman said.
Smotherman does recall one particular game where he lost track of Venables and got swept up into the moment which led to a momentary feeling of panic.
We were on the sideline during one game and the other team threw the ball down the sideline. Then I made the mistake of watching the play happen and I’m watching the ball and all of the sudden notice that Venables is no longer standing in front of me but 15-to-20 yards down the field in the area he is not supposed to be in almost a part of the play. I thought that might be a situation I would get in trouble but fortunately I got out okay.
The Clemson strength coach will have his hands full on Monday night as Venables schemes to stop Joe Burrow and the high-powered LSU offense. The national championship gets underway at 8 p.m. EST in the Superdome.