Clemson football: Brent Venables never stops learning

Clemson football defensive coordinator Brent Venables in playing chess not coaching football.

The Clemson football defensive coordinator met with the media today to put a bow on a dominant defensive performance against Miami and to look ahead to Georgia Tech. Venables is in his ninth year as defensive coordinator where he has turned Clemson into a perennial Top 10 defensive football team.

His ability to adapt to the players he has and create schemes around their strengths has been the foundation of his success.

Too many coaches are wedded to “their systems” they are going to run what they run regardless of what their personnel strengths. Not Brent Venables, he is a student of the game. He is always looking at not just what their opponents are doing he is looking at what other teams throughout the country are doing on offense and defense.

Venables said, “I am looking at everybody, I am looking at people we don’t play in other conferences, I’m looking at defenses, we’re looking at other offenses knowing that people are copycat, whether you’re looking at Ole Miss or Georgia on defense, even if it is less than 10 minutes, hey throw that tape on real quick they were doing some good stuff.”

This sheds tremendous light on why Clemson has been able to sustain high-level defensive play in spite of significant personnel departures over the years. Not a lot of places can lose five drafted (three first-rounders) players on any side of the ball and the following year and only slip two spots in the final total defense rankings.

Clemson football develops excellence because of the coaching staff.

Brent Venables will forget more football today than most individuals in similar positions. If you listen to Venables speak he talks about his players having great humility. It takes tremendous humility to look at what other teams are doing.

It means even someone as successful and accomplished as Venables has things he can learn. I am sure a lot of stuff he sees may not be applicable to what they do at Clemson but just having that exposure means you are not going to fool him over and over again.

Coach Swinney found a perfect complement when he brought Brent Venables to Clemson prior to the 2012 season. His relentless commitment to the Clemson Standard and his own personal commitment to preparation coupled with his humility to continue to learn makes him truly one of the most elite coaches in college football history.

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It is a privilege to have the opportunity to watch a Brent Venables coached defense on a game to game basis.