Venables uses many variables to develop a top-10 defense

Venables uses many variables to develop a top-10 defense


Venables uses many variables to develop a top-10 defense


Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables and the rest of the defense is back to work prepping for their upcoming matchup with Boston College, set for Saturday at Death Valley.

While last weekend’s performance against Syracuse wasn’t the best showing the defense has put together this season, the unit has still remained one of the best in the country. 

So far this season, the Clemson defense ranks 10th nationally, allowing  274.7 in total yards a game. They also rank 10th in yards allowed per play at 4.31 and tied for fourth in turnovers gained with 13.

Year after year, it seems as if the Tigers don’t skip a beat on defense and for Venables, it is about having players like safety Nolan Turner who have made it possible. 

“Since the day he got here it’s been like Golley, well that worked out well for us,” Venables said. “He does everything right, he’s always got a great attitude and he’s just a giver of his time. He’s a great teammate and someone who always shows appreciation. On the field all the details, work and preparation show on the field.

“He’s a great example for all of us that love college football that everything comes in a different shapes, size, form and just because nobody knew about him doesn’t mean he can’t play. There’s a lot of Nolan Turner’s out there. Sometimes they end up at Clemson, but many times they don’t. If you can play, you can play and you’ve got work ethic, you can play. He’s very skilled.”

For Turner who wasn’t heavily recruited, being a mainstay in this Tigers’ defense came with hard work and dedication to the team. Through that dedication he has become one of the most impactful players on the Clemson defense. 

On the other side of the recruiting spectrum, Venables has been getting solid work and dedication out of this year’s number one recruit, Bryan Bresee. Finding himself on a stacked defensive front that has arguably been one of Clemson’s strongest over the past decade, Bresee is utilizing his talent and the talent of his coaching staff. Playing in all six games so far this season, he has stepped into a large role as one would expect. 

“He’s been really good,” said Venables. “I’m sure he’d tell you there’s a lot he’s got to work on and get better at. He’s a sponge though, you know? He doesn’t make the same mistake twice. Over, over and over against most of the time he learns quickly. He’s got a lot of pride and he’s a pleaser with a high motor. He loves to compete and come to practice so we give him passing marks up to this point.” 

For a former top recruit finding his way back onto the field, defensive end Xavier Thomas has also been showing a lot more than expected at this point in the season. Coming into the season a clear and expected starter, Thomas has struggled through strep throat and COVID-19 this summer that derailed his start to the season. Even with the adversity, the junior is back on the field and playing more each week. 

“I thought last week he was better than the week before,” Venables said. “He’s still working on getting back in shape, getting a good feel and getting his legs under him. He’s trending in the right direction and we could really use him too.

“It was great to see him make some plays and he was disruptive a little bit. He’s getting his confidence back.”

The top-ranked Tigers will face Boston College at Memorial Stadium in Clemson this Saturday at noon.

Another championship season is underway for the Tigers. It’s time to gear up for another year of Clemson football.

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