'Hey, coach V...'

Kellen Jones

CLEMSON - Kellen Jones makes is sure to bump into Brent Venables before leaving the West End Zone complex each night.

It's become the routine through the first few days of preseason camp.

"I ask coach V everyday, ‘How did I do today?' Two things he wanted me to improve on were my pass coverage and my techniques," Kellen Jones said. "So I'm going to ask him each and every day, ‘How did I do in practice?'"

When he fulfilled media obligations after Monday's practice, the first in shoulder pads, Jones hadn't spoken with Venables. But the first two days drew positive returns.

"Good stuff," Jones said. "[Venables] said, he actually told me when I understand stuff I'm actually really good. When I don't understand things, that's when I think too much. That's when I'm not reading the plays as fast and I can't use my instincts.

"When I do understand the playbook, that's when I can be more athletic."

To improve his understanding of the playbook, Jones watches film with the man who's listed atop the WILL linebacker depth chart, Spencer Shuey.

"He understands it," Jones said. "I think, just the fact that [Shuey] had a year of starting seven games and watching film each and everyday, I think that's the reason why, specifically.

"Me, I sat out last year and I was just scout team. I didn't watch film or anything. If I did watch film, I didn't know what was going on, because coach V switches things on the fly."

Jones is used to being first-team. That's where he's been his entire life. So, for him, it's a little strange to enter a season not listed as a starter.

"I've never sat the bench in my life," Jones said. "That's not one thing I want to do at all."

It's going to take some patience on his part.

"It's something I'm unusual with, but I'm trying to stay calm, keep my composure and achieve the goal, stay positive," Jones said.

And what will it take for him to reach the place that he wants to be?

"Just be respectful to coach V, improve my fundamentals and my pass coverage."

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