Though he believes his defense still has a long way to go, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables feels this has been a spring where his defense has improved.
The Tigers will conclude spring practice on Saturday in the Orange & White Spring Game at Death Valley, but the work for this year was unofficially completed this past Wednesday.
“This has definitely been a spring where we have benefited and have got better,” Venables said. “The right guys are continuing to get better. We have dealt with a lot of issues. I think ten of our top twenty-two guys missed at least half of the spring, if not more. So that is what it is right now, whether it was protocols or whatnot and some guys like [James] Skalski, [Nolan] Turner, [Baylon] Spector, K.J. Henry, Lannden Sanders, they did not take any reps live.”
With those guys out of live reps, Venables said it gave other players opportunities to get the reps and more importantly get better, while being exposed with the good and the bad.
“There were a few plays and, obviously, we try to eliminate any [bad] plays whatsoever, but I think overall, we gave up 4.3 or 4.4 yards per play with the first and second group, so that is outstanding football,” Venables said. “When it is all said and done, that is what you want to see. The overall picture, we have been doing a great job.”
The biggest area of improvement is on the defensive line, where the first group has created pressure consistently. The Tigers’ defensive coordinator also likes the improvement he has seen in the secondary where he says he has seen some real improvement from a variety of guys.
“Overall, our spring has been good. In our scrimmages, guys have come out and played well,” Venables said. “Not perfect, but our guys have played well. Again, all of that considered, we have a number of guys on both sides of the ball, where we have missed some time, but that has just given other players opportunities to get out there.”
The Spring Game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. and will be televised by the ACC Network.
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