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Brent Venables’ Complex System a Wake-Up Call for Freshman

Clemson veteran linebacker Baylon Spector more confident but still eager to learn and polish his game

There's a reason Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in college football and consistently fields stingy defenses year after year. 

But those accolades don't come without hard work from both Venables, his defensive assistants and of course, the players. 

Clemson junior redshirt linebacker Baylon Spector said the learning curve for grasping Venables' complex schemes and formations is different for everyone. It took him roughly a year and a half before it all truly began to click and even as an upperclassman, he continues to learn each day. 

"I came in at SAM (strong side) linebacker then I switched to Will (weak side) linebacker later that fall," Spector said. "But I'm still learning, I'm learning every day. I still make mistakes and try to get better every single day. It's a never-ending process and I continue to try to better myself to learn and watch as much as I can," he said. 

The older brother of redshirt freshman wide receiver Brannon Spector, Baylon said it is a night and day difference from year one to now.  

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"Coming in as a freshman, you honestly have no clue, it's totally different. It's like a different language," Spector said. "But now as I've gotten older, I'm able to see different formations and recognizing different things and make the game a lot quicker." 

Spector said sometimes there are defensive backs that come in and can pick up everything pretty quickly but the linebacker position possesses different challenges, especially as a rookie. 

"Obviously, linebackers are a different part of the game because you're out there and you are calling the defense, getting everyone lined up and you have to know where your help is," he said. 

It took Clemson's first-team WILL linebacker about a year and a half before everything in Venables' system truly began to click. 

"Wherever you come from in high school has a lot to do with it and your coaching at that level has a lot to do with it," he said. 

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