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Despite Dominant Start, Venables Believes Clemson Defense Must Improve

Clemson defensive coordinator says the No. 6 Tigers have a lot of areas to improve, but they've yet to allow an offensive touchdown and are giving up just 4.02 yards per play.

Clemson's defense couldn't ask for a better start. 

The No. 6 Tigers (1-1) have yet to allow a touchdown. They're first in the ACC and 11th nationally in total defense. Clemson's giving up just 4.02 yards per play and has produced three turnovers in eight quarters of play. 

But defensive coordinator Brent Venables said Monday that after two games, his side of the ball isn't "beating our chest."

"We've got a lot of work to do, a lot of areas we've got to continue to improve," Venables said. "I believe we will because of our guys' commitment, the way that they've worked thus far, the humility that they've shown. They're very hungry. They understand and recognize the standard. Up to this point, they've really embraced that."

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The Tigers have played a lot of players and several young guys. Thirty-four defenders have recorded at least an assisted tackle, while 15 of those are freshmen or sophomores. 

Venables said a good player is one who sets a high ceiling, tries to reach that potential and wants to play "championship-style" defense

"Long way to go, but we're making incremental improvements since we started fall camp," Venables said. "It's pleasing to see in a lot of ways. When you play the amount of guys that we have, there's a lot to correct and coach and teach."

As for how the Tigers continue to get better, Venables says it's "all of it."

"The level of competition week in and week out is going to be improved," Venables said. "There's a familiarity with each other. Every single bit of it. Run defense, pass defense, positioning, technique, eyes, execution, precision, timing, all of those things."

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