FootballScoop is proud to announce that Brent Venables (Clemson) is the 2014 FootballScoop Defensive Coordinator of the Year presented by ProGrass.
Brent Venables has put good defenses on the field for more than a decade and a half, but the 2014 season was a masterpiece.
There were a number of great defenses across college football this fall, but none posted numbers that measured up to Venables' Tigers. Clemson led the nation in total defense (259.6 yards per game allowed), yards per play allowed (4.03) and plays of 10-plus yards allowed (113), making the Tigers just the second defense (joining 2011 Alabama) since the FootballScoop awards program started to lead the country in both metrics.
What set Clemson apart, though, was its unmatched brilliance against both the run and pass. They ranked fourth nationally in yards per attempt allowed (5.5), sixth in opponent completion percentage (50.4), tied for 10th in touchdown passes allowed (12) and placed third in passing defense (161.9 yards per game allowed), all good for a fifth-best 103.08 opponent pass efficiency rating. The Tigers also ranked second in yards per carry allowed (2.78), tied for seventh in rushing touchdowns allowed (10) and seventh in rushing defense (97.67 yards per game allowed).
Venables' unit also led the nation in tackles for loss (122) and ranked fifth in sacks (44). And for those keeping track at home, Alabama's 2011 defense ranked 17th in tackles for loss, meaning this year's Tigers are the only team in the last seven years to lead the country in total defense, yards per play allowed, plays of 10-plus yards allowed and tackles for loss.
Put it all together, and the Tigers placed seventh nationally in scoring defense (17.6 points per game allowed) and tied for eighth in touchdowns allowed (26).
En route to a 9-3 regular season, Clemson held eight of its 12 opponents to 17 points or less in regulation, including four games of holding foes to single digits and two shutouts.
Individually, defensive end Vic Beasley was named a first-team All-American by the Associated Press and was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year by the league's coaches. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, linebacker Stephone Anthony and cornerback Garry Peters also earned first-team All-ACC honors by the league's coaches.
“Brent is well deserving of this award,” said head coach Dabo Swinney in response to winning the award. “He has done a fantastic job since he has been at Clemson and we have seen our defense improve each year he has been here. This year we are first in total defense and that has not been done around here in a long time.
This fall marked Venables' third season on Clemson's staff after spending 13 years on Bob Stoops' staff at Oklahoma, the last eight as defensive coordinator. A native of Salina, Kansas, Venables played at Garden City Community College and Kansas State, and then was immediately elevated upon graduation to linebackers coach with the Wildcats in 1993. He remained in that post through the 1998 season, when he left to join Stoops' original staff in Norman.
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Dave Aranda [Wisconsin], Kirby Smart [Alabama], Dave Wommack [Ole Miss] and Venables) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.
Venables will receive his award and be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention in January.
Previous winners of the Defensive Coordinator of the Year award are Nick Holt (USC, 2008), Kirby Smart (Alabama, 2009), Vic Fangio (Stanford, 2010), John Chavis (LSU, 2011) Bob Diaco (Notre Dame, 2012) and Pat Narduzzi (Michigan State, 2013).
1st Nationally - Total Defense
1st Nationally - Tackles for Loss
1st Nationally - Yards Per Play Allowed
2nd Nationally - Yards Per Carry Allowed
1st Nationally - Plays of 10+ Yds Allowed
4th Nationally - Yards Per Attempt Allowed
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