Deshaun Watson is ready to cut it loose when second-ranked Clemson visits Auburn on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“It’s going to feel good to be able to go out there in front of the world and show them what Clemson football is about,” the Heisman Trophy candidate said. “There will be a lot of emotions going on, but at the same time it will be fun to get back out there on that field and play college football.”
Clemson will kick off the season at 9 p.m. (EST), and the game will be televised by ESPN. The ACC’s Tigers come into the year with a ton of hype and expectations after winning their first 14 games last season and advancing to the College Football Championship Game.
Many expect Clemson to be right in the mix again this season with Watson and just about everyone else returning on the offensive side of the ball. Last year, the Tigers averaged 38.5 points and 514.5 yards per game.
“There are always going to be some things you have to fix because it is another year and we are playing a different opponent, but we will just have to see Saturday night and hopefully everything goes smooth,” Watson said.
“We just need to do what we need to do,” he continued. “If everyone just does their job and everything, then it should move smoothly and we should be able to execute.”
Auburn might have something to say about that. Jordan-Hare is expecting more than 87,000 fans wearing orange and yelling against Watson and his offense.
“I visited Auburn during the recruiting process and I know how loud that stadium is and how those fans are,” the Clemson quarterback said. “Of course it is going to be a hostile environment. It is the first game and it is a big-time matchup in primetime.
“It will be no surprise that it is going to be loud and real crazy. We are going to enjoy it. It is nothing we have not seen before.”
Watson says he and his teammates will feel comfortable playing at Jordan-Hare because he feels like they will be prepared to play.
“I feel like we have prepared very well,” the junior said. “The preparation still is not done. I don’t want to be ready right now. I don’t want to be ready on Friday. Whenever 8:05 hits in Auburn, Alabama that’s when me and my teammates will be ready.
“We can’t play the game right now. We just have to continue to prepare and make sure we channel all of our energy and release it when the game starts.”
Last year, Clemson opened the season with a 49-10 victory over Wofford. And though Watson knows Auburn will be a whole different kind of challenge on Saturday. Ultimately, he says, it will come down to what he and his teammates are able to do between the lines.
“To me, it really does not matter. Regardless, even if we had in (the media’s) view an easier opponent, we are still going to come out and play at a high level,” he said. “It does not matter who we are playing against or what their record is. We are still going to play Clemson football, and that is to be the best and dominate.
“That’s our mentality. Regardless of the competition or where we are playing at, we are still going to have the same mindset.”