Venables hoping for faster start from Clemson defense

      CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- Clemson coordinator Brent Venables knows his defense can't wait as long as it did during his debut season to improve.

      Venables struggled to find the right combination up front and in the secondary in 2012 as opponents put up big yardage numbers on the Tigers for much of the season. Things started clicking at the end, though, with Clemson's defense posting its strongest effort in a 25-24 victory over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl to finish 11-2.

      Venables has worked with his players since then on making a faster start on the season. They'll need to, too, as Clemson opens at home against another Southeastern Conference powerhouse in Georgia.

      Venables likes what he's heard from offseason workouts. He'll get his first true look Friday when Clemson opens fall camp.