The Clemson Tigers scrimmaged in Memorial Stadium on Wednesday, giving the program an opportunity to simulate a game-like situation. However, as the scrimmage ended defensive coordinator Brent Venables felt like his defense was anything but game-ready.
Venables ran his defense for an additional 20 minutes after the conclusion of practice and then turned to the media in an effort to make his displeasure even clearer.
“We didn’t play very well and got a lot of work to do. Just today I don’t think we had the right kind of focus,” Venables said Wednesday evening according to Nikki Hood of TigerNet.com. “I don’t know (how much the lack of focus can be attributed to nine days off), they were catching them and completing them on the other side, we just didn’t do a good job leveraging the ball and playing like we need to play.”
And if you were looking for any reasons to be optimistic with any individual position groups, Venables wasn’t interested in entertaining the notion.
“All three units you play out there – it’s all your defense. It’s not like, well, the d-line played good and they didn’t, your unit suffers,” Venables said. “The backers didn’t play good but the DB’s did. It’s not DLU, this is the Clemson defense, so whoever runs out on that field or the practice field or goes in that weight room, that’s our unit so the guys need to know, ‘oh we did our thing.’ That’s not how it works, I wish it did.”
The Clemson defensive line returns whole and adds some incredible freshman talent heading into 2018, so people are incredibly excited to see what that group can do. However, the Tigers do have to replace losses in the secondary and at linebacker and Venables is absolutely right about the need for a cohesive effort.
Teams split off into meeting groups and it’s easy to become prideful of the room you’re in. But it ultimately takes 11 hats moving towards a common purpose to play this game and it’s clear that Venables won’t allow anybody to lose sight of that.