Not too often does a safety record 3.5 sacks in a game, but that’s exactly what Tyler Venables did during Saturday’s Orange & White Game at Death Valley.
Venables, though, admits at least one of the “sacks” he was credited with against quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei probably would not have been a sack in a real game, as he benefited from the one-hand touch rule put in place to protect the quarterbacks from being tackled in the spring game.
“Coach Swinney told me about that one,” Venables said, smiling. “That first one, I definitely jumped up in the air, and I don’t think I’m bringing down Big (Cinco), 250-pound monster, with one hand on his shoulder. So, I like the rule.”
Including his 3.5 sacks, Venables finished with seven total tackles (five solo) and also logged a quarterback hurry in the spring game, helping the White team to a 14-13 victory over the Orange.
A rising sophomore, Venables feels he made big strides this spring from a mental standpoint in his knowledge of the playbook and defense, especially compared to last year when he was learning how to play safety on the fly with little experience at the position coming out of Daniel High School.
“Everybody wanted to say I was a two-way player coming out of high school, but I really only played quarterback,” he said. “I probably played like 100 snaps in my four years at Daniel on defense. So, I think this is my first real spring of just totally getting in the books and understanding defense and zone coverage, man coverage, blitz and everything like that. So, I think I’ve grown a ton.”
Venables posted 24 tackles (1.0 for loss) and three pass breakups in 214 snaps over 12 games as a true freshman in 2020, gaining valuable experience that should help him this season.
It’s not easy to play for Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables in his complex scheme – especially when he is your father – but Tyler takes the constructive criticism from his coach-dad in stride and uses it to improve his game.
“I would say it’s just the amount of things you have to do,” Tyler said when asked about the challenges of playing safety on Clemson’s defense. “You have the physical part of course with practice and everything, and that can wear on your body if you don’t stay ahead of it with getting treatment and what not. And then of course you have the mental side.
“And then with your father coaching you, you kind of just have block out all the criticism, and it’s basically like your father and your coach being disappointed in you when you do something wrong. So, it’s kind of like a double whammy. But you just kind of have to be a robot and just go along and correct it and don’t take it personally.”
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