With a short week to prepare for Clemson’s first ACC opponent on Thursday, the third-ranked Tigers had to put to bed the 59-0 victory over S.C. State and dial in on the task at hand. Co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott and some players met with the media to discuss their preparation for taking on Georgia Tech.
Here is what we heard:
Elliott is not taking the preparation for the matchup at Georgia Tech lightly. He stressed how important it is for Clemson to take advantage of the small amount of time they get to prepare.
“Hopefully I don’t seem like I’m dragging, but it’s already been a long, long couple of days trying to get prepared,” Elliott said. “You have to turn over the game in respect for the players — you have to close out South Carolina State the right way, show them the film and correct their mistakes. Then, you have to get right on to Georgia Tech.”
He was thankful that Clemson had the opportunity to spend some time working on Georgia Tech over fall camp.
“We were able to put a couple of days of work in the bank so that when we came in on Sunday, we’re not starting over,” Elliott said. “The guys have some familiarity with it. You’re losing two days of preparation, so you’re trying to combine two practices into one where you’re working different situational things that come up in the game. It was big for us to have an opportunity over the summer to put in a couple of days.”
Although he was not allowed to suit up on Saturday, linebacker Ben Boulware is definitely ready to play the Yellow Jackets.
“My ankle was fine. It is bruised, but I played with one arm last year. I literally could not move my arm for four games last year,” Boulware said. “The ankle was the least of my worries. I wanted to play. I didn’t care if we were playing Daniel High School or the Dallas Cowboys, I wanted to get out there and play. They obviously didn’t really need me, but I didn’t care. I could have played seventy-five snaps and have been perfectly fine. Coach (Dabo) Swinney is obviously smarter than I am, and is looking into the future, knowing we have a short week.”
Clemson has not won at Georgia Tech since 2003, but safety Korrin Wiggins said that the team is only focusing on this year.
“That has come up, not for us, but everyone outside knows about it. We are aware of that. We focus on this year and making sure we know what we are doing to win this year,” Wiggins said.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson said he expects to have some flashbacks of his injury from the 2014 trip to Atlanta, but he will not let that affect the way he plays.
“I have flashbacks about that play. I just remember pretty much that whole morning, the warm-ups, getting ready to play, coming back from a hand injury, being excited to play, and then that first quarter, going down,” Watson said. “Of course it’s going to pop up in my mind, but it won’t be anything too serious.”
Running back Wayne Gallman is ready for the quick turnaround. After receiving just 16 total carries in the last two weeks, Gallman feels fresh and ready to go.
“I’m ready to play, man,” Gallman said. “I know the coaches have really tried to get everybody some playing time and everybody some opportunities, but I’m ready to cut it loose.”