As Clemson football continues its spring practice, it seems like a tale of two cities. There’s a thriving offense and a young, inexperienced defense.
Part of the fun of being around the Clemson football program is learning how the coaches work, especially in relation to the media.
Dabo Swinney is a guy that will be blunt at times, but also throws in a lot of coach speak. He’s almost perfect at finding a balance between the two, challenging guys at times and encouraging others depending on the circumstance.
After Swinney, though, you get Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott offensively and Brent Venables defensively. You can expect a lot of encouraging news from Scott, who sees the upside in players. You can expect some well thought-out answers from Elliott, who is very analytically.
And you expect some very negative, truthful and challenging answers from Brent Venables.
Venables challenges his guys to be the best that they can be and, while he does encourage within the team, he will challenge his players in the media. Last season, Clemson football returned one of the best defenses in the nation. When the media talked to Venables, that unit seemed as if it were underperforming.
He continued to challenge them to get the best out of them.
This spring, he has continued to push his guys to get better. One aspect that will help Venables in getting the best defense possible on the field come August is the talented offense that they will be facing every day in practice.
You can’t tell me that Venables- while frustrated at times- isn’t happy at the end of the day that his defensive backs are having to go against guys like Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross, Amari Rodgers and Derion Kendrick. Venables wants to see how his guys perform against Trevor Lawrence’s passing attack with those talented receivers.
He is probably chomping at the bit to see his new defensive tackles continue to perform against the Tigers’ experienced interior offensive line and the explosive stable of running backs in Travis Etienne, Tavien Feaster and Lyn-J Dixon.
In the end, that offense is going to force the defense to grow up. The good news is that the defense won’t face an offense as good as the Tigers this season.
Now, it’s their job to grow up and find a way to slow down- in practice- what may be one of the most prolific offenses in the history of College Football.
I’m sure Venables is excited.