Tigers will start a new guy at middle linebacker this Saturday

Tigers will start a new guy at middle linebacker this Saturday

Football

Tigers will start a new guy at middle linebacker this Saturday

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Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables put aside being the tough coach for a moment to speak highly of his son, Jake, on Monday, as well as a lot of his players, as the top-ranked Tigers get set to open the season Saturday at Wake Forest.

Jake Venables will get the start at middle linebacker, as senior James Skalski will be forced to sit out the first half due to his targeting call in the second half of the national championship game.

Brent Venables said his son has made the most of his opportunities thus far at Clemson, and he is excited to see what is to come for him against the Demon Deacons.  

Venables on Jake starting the Wake Forest game

“Jake is ready for the moment. He’s gotten some opportunities last year as a redshirt freshman. He came in and did some really nice things under pressure and in mop up time as well. He’s very focused and serious about his responsibilities. He has a great deal of value in the skill and preparation that it takes in the course of the game. I’m excited for him. I feel good.” 

Venables on tight end Braden Galloway’s attitude on the scout team last year 

“Well, I think he’s always been a talented guy. He’s got length. He can run, super athletic. I was most proud of Braden coming to the scout team. That’s a hard thing going from an every down player, who is an intrical part of the offense to a “hey you’re going to run over there and get screamed at everyday on scout team without getting the game reps. I think it helped him mature, grow up, and have an appreciation for what it takes to get ready for a game.”

Venables on the competition between Mario Goodrich and Andrew Booth

“Andrew is incredibly high cut and high waisted, but really long wind, twitchy. He’s very physically tough, mentally tough. To be honest, he’s been here over a year now, and half of it he spent rehabbing and not being healthy. He’s been at a different level in regards to his confidence and his mindset. The play follows that. He’s had an excellent, excellent [camp], in particular and completely on another planet when it comes to where he is mentally. Mario, I remember distinctly on his highlight was a tackle, a blow up tackle. He was in Cover 2 and blows up the perimeter run. He just blows it up. He prides himself on being physical.” 

Venables on new redshirt rule   

“You don’t have the stress of burning a guys year because you want to run him out on the kickoff team after he’s already played his fourth game. I think from a development standpoint, it gives them a real chance, it gives them a real chance to benefit from it. Whether they use the year or not at the back end of their career, this gives them an opportunity. This is a developmental game. The more you play, the better you improve.” 

Venables on the veteran defensive tackles  

“They had their best camps. They made significant improvements. A lot of little things, such as playing faster, playing with more knock back, getting better at get offs, improving their fundamentals, their hand violence, pass rush, and those things. More than anything else I’ve seen strong leadership.” 

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