After two weeks where Clemson’s offense has not looked like the confident scoring machine that it was last year, doubt has begun to loom over Death Valley.
Why hasn’t Deshaun Watson used his magical Heisman powers to dominate opponents in the first two weeks? Why can’t the receivers hang on to the ball? How have the Tigers barely beaten two teams that everyone predicted they would easily stomp on?
Watson answers these questions and tells us why Clemson is going to be okay with his heartfelt apology to the media and his fans on Monday.
Q: On Saturday, at time it looked like this offense wasn’t having fun, you weren’t having fun. How do you guys get that fun, that spark back?
Watson: “It starts with the mindset of the guys. Just enjoying it and understanding that we only have twelve games, seven at home. We just need to take advantage of that because you only get to live this opportunity once and really enjoy it. The college experience goes so fast, especially with a whole bunch of guys having an opportunity to move on in a couple of months. There are a lot of distractions going around but we just have to get back to the main thing and focus on the moment and live in the moment. That’s the main thing about that, just having fun and enjoying it.”
Q: A fan sent me a twitter message during the game and said that Superman needs to find his cape. Have you thought about finding that fun again and embracing it since it’s probably your last go around here?
Watson: “I would say that I’m not Superman. I’m not a super hero. I had a talk with Coach Swinney this morning about that. I’m human and I make mistakes. I started 22 games, went (20-2) and this was probably my worst one. At the end of the day we’re 2-0, you live and learn and correct the mistakes. We could easily be 1-1 right now or even 0-2, but at the end of the day we’re 2-0 and just learn from the mistakes. I had a reality check this weekend with myself just really enjoying it. I just want to give an apology because I think you all can feed off of the negative energy I bring to the media. I get it so much that it’s kind of like ‘why do I have to do this media again?’ because it’s the same questions. My freshman year I came in and enjoyed it, I was excited to be here. I had a little bit last year, but as the season went on it just started to get old and dull. So much media attention kind of boars down on me, and I just apologize to you guys and all of the fans. I need to enjoy it because this kind of opportunity is rare and next year who knows what is going to happen. It’s just really short so I’m just apologizing to y’all and I’m just going to bring that enjoyment back because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Q: Deshaun what are you apologizing for?
Watson: “Just not having fun and enjoying the opportunity because it’s going by so fast. It’s not my care or my play, it’s just really enjoying this moment, this opportunity with you guys. It’s a blessing and a privilege to be in this position to have people that want to talk to me and hear my story. It could easily be on the flip side and have no one want to talk to me, respect me or in the stands wearing my jersey. It just kind of got away from me for a little while with all of the attention I have gotten. I just have to find myself and be the Deshaun Watson that I always will be.”
Q: You mentioned distractions with the team. What are you talking about?
Watson: “There’s just so much going on. It’s not so much as guys looking on social media and seeing the hype or buying into the hype, it’s just with schoolwork, politics, social lives, relationships, just everything. There are distractions all over the place and being 18 to 22 years old, there’s so much going on in your life. Even back home it’s easy to get sidetracked. You just always have to stay on your P’s and Q’s and make sure that the main priorities are taken care of first.”
Q: For you personally and for the team, with all of the magazine covers and the people picking Clemson to win the championship, has that presented itself as a distraction in these first two games?
Watson: “It could be. Coach Swinney always drives us and we understand that last years results don’t win us any games this year. We have to go back to work. It’s a lot of attention on us, we’re the target and we’re going to embrace it, but at the same time we have to understand that the work we put in during the week has to be shown and executed on the weekends. Offensively, we haven’t really been doing that to our potential. We have to go back to the basics, regroup and go back to work.”
Q: Why has it been on offense? Defense for the most part has been solid.
Watson: “I’m not sure. The defense has been solid keeping us in games, playing their butts off. It’s the same with special teams. We just need to find that rhythm. It’s going to come soon; we just have to be patient. Coach Swinney would always tell us to pick out a word for this year and my world was patience. I think that we knew we had the talent but it’s not going to come straight from game one, it’s going to take time. That’s what great teams do, they build on it.”