CLEMSON — Clemson's secondary knows it got exposed in front of the nation Saturday night when Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond put on a passing clinic and torched the Tigers for 430 yards through the air.
So many busts. So many missed assignments. So many chunk plays.
And yet the Tigers don't seem overly concerned about future opponents watching the game tape and feeling confident that they can do the same thing.
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables was surprisingly calm Monday.
"I don't think that's fair to say. I don't think that's fair to say," Venables repeated when asked if he was disappointed with his defensive backs. "I thought Travyon (Mullen) and A.J. (Terrell) played really well. So to paint a broad brush is not (fair)."
Safety K'Von Wallace took it a step further, even going so far as to dare offenses in the future:
"What I've got to say about it, just keep trying us," he said. "I love quarterbacks that throw the ball. I don't want to just sit there and just run, run, run all day. If any team feels like they can expose us (with) the deep ball, I feel like they should go ahead and try it.
"If you feel like we got exposed, just try us."
He's going to get his wish. Teams will try.
The Tigers entered the season with one of the most heralded defenses in the country, yet Texas A&M moved up and down the field with surprising ease in the second half, when Mond passed for 333 yards.
Venables has spoken often about his young secondary, and the weaknesses became obvious against Mond, who completed five passes for 29 yards or more, including a 69-yarder that set up a touchdown.
He had his way with every type of throw from screen passes, to intermediate routes, to downfield shots. Clemson will spend the week rewatching those lapses over and over on tape to break down exactly what went wrong.
Venables said most of the breakdowns came down to the little things that became bigger issues. But it wasn’t so much that his unit didn’t know what to do as much as it was an issue of simply not executing.
"We had a nice laboratory on Saturday night to work through that," he said.
On Saturday, the Tigers play Georgia Southern, an overmatched opponent that should allow Clemson to work out some of those kinks on defense.
Clemson’s 2017 defense ranked fourth in the nation in passing defense, allowing just 161.9 passing yards per game. Texas A&M more than doubled that amount.
“I hope people take (the secondary) as a weakness of our defense because that’ll just enhance them even more,” defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell said. “People don’t understand how competitive those guys are and they really want to go out there and prove themselves every day.”
They’re going to get that chance. All eyes are on them moving forward.
Clemson wide receiver Diondre Overton caught a dart of a pass from quarterback Kelly Bryant from an 8-yard touchdown Saturday night and was asked about it Monday.
The junior from Greensboro was proud of himself, and light-heartedly let that be known.
"It was just a tremendous catch by me," he said to a group of laughing reporters.
Tigers honored by ACC
Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins was named the ACC's Receiver of the Week, Ferrell was named the ACC's Defensive Lineman of the Week and senior left tackle Mitt Hyatt was named the ACC's Offensive Lineman of the Week, all Monday.
Bryant on the rise
Bryant, the senior quarterback, is now officially in the top 10 of Clemson's record book for most career completions. Despite only playing one season and two games this year, Bryant passed Steve Fuller for the No. 11 spot early into Saturday's game and then passed Clemson quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter to enter into the top 10.