CLEMSON—They say that opposites attract, and if one is looking for a “point-and-case” to prove it they needn’t look any further than the Clemson coaching staff.
A staff where one overly optimistic, glass half full Dabo Swinney leads the team, while a more pragmatic, analytical, quick to give praise Brent Venables sits balancing the equation.
It is the perfect case of yin and yang, of optimist and realest, of the magnetic forces of attraction—of a winning formula.
While the Tigers’ head coach hands out praise in buckets for a defensive side of the ball that has the potential to be one of the best in Clemson history, the more stoic Venables is not quite ready to heap tons of praise on a group that has yet to play a game.
“I don’t look at it that way. I don’t care if you have experience or not or you’re a starter or not,” Venables said. “I know that we’ve got enough guys to be good and how good we’ll be—we’ll see.
“But if we don’t have good leadership and we have guys that are going to be selfish, guys that are not willing to put in the work and be consistent about going to class and doing all the little things the right way, then we will not be worth a flip.”
If the spring game was any indication, with the split-squad defense allowing neither team to reach 300 yards of total offense, the Tigers’ will be more than good.
In fact, they may be down right scary—or “pretty good” if you are the Tigers’ defensive coordinator, because there is always something that you can improve on.
“I thought the defense was solid,” Venables said. “I think we have a chance to be pretty good, but a lot of things need to happen between now and (the first game). The leadership needs to come on and we need to improve the depth in the secondary.”
While the Tigers head coach was singing the praises of his defense after the Tigers’ spring game saying, ““We’ve got a bunch of guys that can play (on defense),” Swinney said. “ When you can split the team up…I think it’s a credit to both sides, in terms of the type of depth we got,” it was Venables who was pumping the breaks on his defense.
“There is a lot in front of us before you can make any guesses, predictions or things of that nature (with regards to how good the defense will be),” Venables said. “I think it is a good group of guys that is anxious to work and seem to have a pretty good chemisty.
“But if we don’t have good leadership and we have guys that are going to be selfish, guys that are not willing to put in the work and be consistent about going to class and doing all the little things the right way—then we will not be worth a flip.”