Clemson Football: What New Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables Means to Program

Joseph WatsonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04:  Head coach Dabo Swinney (C) of the Clemson Tigers gets set to lead his team onto the field against the West Virginia Mountaineers West Virginia Mountaineers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Clemson football just got a whole lot better.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard a Clemson fan say, “If we had a defense to go with our offense, heck, we’d be a real team.”

Congrats, Tiger fans. You just got it.

If being a good guy was all it took to be a defensive coordinator, then Kevin Steele could have lived a long and happy life on the Clemson sideline.  Sorry, Steele.  We’re not looking for nice.

As a matter of fact, we’re looking for nasty.  Like LSU nasty.  Or Alabama nasty.

Or Oklahoma nasty.

Let’s go back to the '90s. In the five seasons leading up to Brent Venables' tenure as defensive coordinator, Oklahoma had a combined record of 23-33-1.

Not exactly an elite program.

Since Venables took over the defense, the Sooners are 139-34 and played for the national championship four times, having won it once.

That's a pretty good resume—a resume that he now takes to Clemson.

Say what you will about Dabo, but the man can recruit—players and staff. Brent Venables joins Chad Morris and his nitro-offense and will have his modeling clay ready, as Clemson is poised to pull in some of the nation's top defensive recruits.

Now, for the bad news.

Clemson does not play well as the favorite.  The addition of a defense will cause the bulls-eye to grow, and then we will see if Dabo is truly changing the culture in Clemson.