CLEMSON, SC – Though he is a little thin along the defensive line this year, Brent Venables knows he can still be successful.
When Kansas State was making repeat trips to BCS Bowls, Venables, then the linebackers coach at the time, said he had only four-down lineman for the entire season.
“We had four total, Four!” he said. “We had end, tackle, tackle and D-end. That was it. We had three linebackers, four DBs and that was it. We played that way every game, every snap. That’s what I tell these guys. ‘Why do we have to have a rotation?’
“If we can find tough guys, and I know things have changed a little bit in regards to pace and styles because you are not rushing the passer 20 years ago like you are today, we can get it done.”
Venables said after Tuesday’s two-hour practice behind the Jervey Athletic Center, that there is still no decision on whom will be his starters on the defensive line, especially at the tackle positions. It’s expected Malliciah Goodman will start at one defensive end spot, but Corey Crawford and Victor Beasley are battling it out for the starting spot opposite him. At the tackle positions, DeShawn Williams, Grady Jarrett and Josh Watson are vying for the two inside positions.
“The lack of experience is a little concerning so we will have to see how they play and react and fight through the elements,” Clemson’s new defensive coordinator said. “But, I like the mindset. I like what I see in practice so I’m excited to see them go out and do it now.
“The next 10 days are something we will kind of walkthrough and try to recognize performance and not what the potential might be. We will see who practices the best, and which ones are the most consistent.”
Still worried. Though his defensive backs were very active in fall camp, Venables still isn’t satisfied with the units overall play and some of that has to do with the team’s depth.
“The depth isn’t very good,” he said. “We have some guys that will have their opportunity sooner rather than later to kind of show what they can do. We just don’t have very many numbers (when it comes to experience).”
Venables did say, unless something drastically changes in the next week, Bashaud Breeland and Darius Robinson will be the starting corners when the 14-th-ranked Tigers play No. 25 Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic.
Peters playing corner. To help with depth issues, defensive back Garry Peters has been moved from his former position at safety to corner.
“He has done a nice job,” Venables said. “He is picking things up well.”Peters recorded an interception in the corner of the end zone during last Saturday’s scrimmage while covering Sammy Watkins.
First day of class = day off. Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney is giving the Tigers the day off Wednesday since classes at Clemson officially begin. The Tigers will resume practice on Thursday, which will begin the team’s regular practice schedule for “Game Week” the rest of the year.
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