Clemson’s group of highly touted true freshmen defensive linemen – Bryan Bresee, Myles Murphy, Demonte Capehart and Tre Williams – arrived on campus with a ton of hype and expectations, and they certainly have not disappointed so far according to defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
“It’s a group of guys that came in with a lot of to-do and a lot of hype and things of that nature,” Venables said Monday. “But it’s a group of guys that, to me, have overdelivered up to this point.”
The immense talent those freshmen possess has been obvious to Venables, head coach Dabo Swinney and players on both sides of the ball. However, their physical gifts and natural abilities are not what has impressed Venables the most about them.
“They have some tremendous skill sets, and it’s been well noticed and noted from certainly Coach Swinney and a lot of our players, both on offense and defense,” Venables said. “Their talent has been there. Yes, refinement is still needed in their fundamentals and technique and understanding of what we do, but the most pleasing part is just the humility and their work ethic and their toughness and what great teammates that they are.”
Venables said Bresee, Murphy, Capehart and Williams are “very low maintenance” and not easily distracted.
“That’s usually what the really good ones do,” Venables added. “They just have the right mindset to come in and work and compete every day and have self-awareness about what they need to do to get better and then go work at that every day as well. But it’s been a group of guys that have let us coach them really hard and are fighting like tooth and nail every day to meet what our standards are … Just really grateful for that because you’ve got enough problems, let alone if you had an added problem of lack of maturity, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Venables expects the freshmen to make an impact on the defensive line this season and continue to improve and realize more and more of their potential over the course of the campaign.
However, Venables and the staff are trying not to put too much on their plates early on but rather doing their best to make things as simple as possible for them.
“Just really proud of these guys and excited because they’re going to make us better,” Venables said. “They’re not going to be what they’re capable of being game one. I think that would be the biggest thing is don’t put too much expectation on them. As coaches, just, ‘Hey man, just come in and do your job. You don’t have to make special plays or do freaky things, that’ll naturally happen in the right time.’ So, just play stance, alignment, assignment, key — just kind of have that process.
“Our job as coaches is to help them from a procedural standpoint – how do you play at a high level, how do you have a winning grade one snap at a time – and really try to simplify it for them that way, and as they do accordingly, they’ll earn more and more playing time.”
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