Clemson players speak after their 27-17 loss to South Carolina.
The struggle to make stops
What was giving you guys trouble?
Venables: We couldn't make a play, make a stop. Defense is about making stops. Overall, for the year, we've played pretty good on third-downs and fourth-downs. Tonight, they had our number. They were just more precise than us. Made a couple of critical errors there in the second half, a couple of third-down conversions -- let the quarterback run around at some critical times. Just weren't good enough. Didn't coach them good enough, couldn't make the play when we needed one.
The change of quarterback for them right before the game, did that throw you off at all, them going with Dylan Thompson as opposed to Connor Shaw?
Venables: No, no.
Was he better as a runner than you might have thought?
Venables: I think the m-o was that wasn't really his cup of tea. I think he showed, when he needed to, he did. He extended some plays. We didn't defend it really well.
You guys were able to generate some pressure early on but it tapered off. What happened there?
Venables: We got into a number of third and fourth-down situations. Got to fourth-down and they converted. In that third quarter, two of their conversions were on penalties on us, as well. We couldn't get into a rhythm, because of both them and us. It's a funny game. Your opportunities were there and we weren't quite good enough. They were. Give, obviously, them all the credit. They scrapped. They put together enough plays and conversions to keep us on our heels, keep our offense off the field. As a team, we couldn't get, in the second half, in particularly, we couldn't get into that rhythm.
When he was checking down into the flat…
Venables: The one was a bust, a missed assignment, on the swing route out into the flat, a third-down that they picked up maybe 20 yards.
They seemed to be more effective when they had you guys spread out.
Venables: When they did that, those were long yardage situations…we had some opportunities to make some plays, but we just couldn't quite do it.
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