When it comes to the two safety positions, Brent Venables feels, as coaches, there is a sense of desperation this spring as they try to find who is going to replace Tanner Muse, K’Von Wallace and Denzel Johnson.
Those three, along with Nolan Turner, helped form a safety net on the backend of Clemson’s defense that gave the coaching staff a sense of comfort the last two years. Now, three of those four are gone, and Turner will miss the entire spring after having shoulder surgery last month.
That leaves Venables and safeties coach Mickey Conn with a group of talented players, but with no real experience among them.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Clemson’s defensive coordinator said. “We lost a lot of really good players there. You just don’t snap your fingers and the guys are every bit as good.
“We have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of experience to gain. You do that through practice, through film study, through failure, through success. We have a long way to go.”
The Tigers definitely have the talent to get it done. Highly recruited players such as Lannden Zanders, Joseph Charleston, Ray Thornton and R.J. Mickens, along with Venables’ son, Tyler, are the five scholarship players practicing this spring.
“It is a good group of guys, as far as talent, instincts, length, speed and athletic ability,” Brent Venables said. “We just have to get experience. As coaches, we have a sense of desperation and we have to find a way to get them ready mentally and get them to know what to do consistently.
“We are trying guys at different spots and different situations and really trying to learn more about their strengths and weaknesses, what they can and can’t do. This is the time of year to do that.”
Clemson will continue to do that today as the Tigers return to the practice fields for the sixth time this spring at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility.
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