Don’t say “shootout” around Brent Venables this week.
“I don’t like that one bit,” said Venables, Clemson’s defensive coordinator, when asked about the possibility of a high-scoring game Friday with Ohio State at the Orange Bowl.
Venables’ polite but firm sermon Tuesday morning was lauded by his players and coach Dabo Swinney.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s Ohio State, if it’s the Pittsburgh Steelers, it doesn’t matter. Your job on defense is to stop people,” Venables said. “Everybody wants to say it’s a shootout, you take offense to that.”
Las Vegas’ over/under for recreational purposes was 69-70 points, as high as the Baylor-Central Florida game but not quite as high as 76 for Texas A&M-Duke in Tuesday’s Chick-fil-A Bowl.
“You play in a high powered offense in today’s age of football, whether it’s the NFL or it’s in college,” Venables said. “They’re offensive driven, and the rules set it up for them to have an advantage per se.
“We know that, if we don’t do things right, we turn the ball over, we give up big plays, we don’t stop the run, we don’t have somebody in the A gap when we need to, they’ll break the scoreboard.”
In essence, that was what happened when Clemson last played in an Orange Bowl — 70 points by West Virginia.
“You think about it, everybody talks about it,” Venables said of the speculation, “next thing you know its 13-2. That’s what they said in 2000 when we played for the national championship at Oklahoma against Florida State and they had broken all those records.
“That doesn’t really resonate with me.”
End Corey Crawford said after practice it inspired him and understood if his coach felt it was disrespectful. “I feel like we can play with Ohio State,” he said. “I don’t think it will be a shootout.”
Receiver Sammy Watkins said recently he didn’t request an evaluation, indicating it wasn’t necessary. Watkins has been projected as a first-rounder and possibly the first receiver drafted. Swinney said he felt Beasley, in his second season as a defensive starter, has “high first-round ability” but could benefit from another season at Clemson.
Former Tennessee All-American Albert Haynesworth visited Clemson practice in his luxury ride, drawing raves from Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd. Haynesworth was coached by Clemson defensive line assistant Dan Brooks.