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Brent Venables Appreciates 'Passion' of 'Very Real' Clemson-South Carolina Rivalry

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is excited to renew a rivalry between the Tigers and South Carolina Gamecocks that didn't take place last year.

Brent Venables is a Midwest man. 

He played for and coached at Kansas State and Oklahoma. He took part in one of college football's most intense rivalries: Bedlam, the in-state series between the Sooners and Oklahoma State.

Venables left the Sooners to take over as defensive coordinator at Clemson in 2012, so he heads into his ninth installment of the Palmetto Bowl. The rivalry between his Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks is "very real," even to someone from out of the Palmetto State. 

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"Who doesn't love to get excited or prepared for a very intense, emotional game that means a lot to a lot of people?" Venables said "The passion, you can feel it. It's an honor to be a part of it. Me, not growing up here, it didn't take me a few minutes to figure that out, be indoctrinated into it." 

Venables has been on both sides of the outcomes in this series. He was around when the Gamecocks won two of their five consecutive games, and Venables has been a big part of turning that into a Clemson domination of sixth consecutive wins, dating back to 2014. 

For a coach who displays and teaches passion, Saturday's 7:30 p.m. game at Williams-Brice Stadium is right up his alley, especially since there wasn't a game last year. COVID-19 altered the scheduling, and the SEC did away with non-conference games.  He's excited to renew this matchup.

"It's part of Thanksgiving and certainly, in this state, it's a huge deal," Venables said. "The alliance, one side or the other, the loyalty, the hate, all of that is very real. I certainly missed it and it's intense and emotional and it means as much as any rivalry in college football. It's a big deal. It's a whole season of its own." 

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