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Jay Guillermo unplugged: Clemson-Carolina rivalry

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Jay Guillermo, a lifelong Clemson fan, relives many memories he has of the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry.

The fourth-ranked Tigers host rival South Carolina on Saturday in Death Valley

Question: Given how USC won five straight before you guys snapped the streak, now two in a row. What would it mean to close out your career at Clemson with three straight over your hardest rival?

Guillermo: “Any time you can get a win over your rival, it’s awesome. We’ve been able to come out and win the majority of the games against our rival is pretty something special not a lot of people have done. It’s something special too for those guys who never got to beat South Carolina. Guys like Dalton Freeman, Tajh, and all the guys who never got to beat them, it’s kind of for them. So it’s definitely something you really look forward too and really try to accomplish. Obviously the game is one of its own, a season of its own. Even though it’s my senior year and I’ll be gone from Clemson, South Carolina, I’ll still hear about it for the rest of the year. So it’s a special one.”

Question: How much have you thought about how emotional it will be standing at the top of the hill for the last time?

Guillermo: “Not too much. Thankfully I didn’t get too emotional on senior day. Hopefully it won’t be that way this Saturday, but you never know. I figure it will be a little bit, but I haven’t thought about it too much.”

Question: When you see the name “South Carolina” or see their logo, what are your thoughts?

Guillermo: “I don’t like it very much. Obviously I’m bias because I’m a part of it, but it’s one of the best rivalries in college football.”

Question: This Carolina defense lets you get into the red zone, but then they try to turn you over. Can you talk about their defense in that regard?

Guillermo: “They got some good players. Their defensive line is pretty good, they’re stout guys, up-field pusher kind of guys. They can do some things that can hurt you but I believe if we can stick to our game plan, we’ll have some success. But they’re really good at creating turnovers. We’ve got to really hold onto the ball like we did last weekend.”

Question: Is there anything schematically that you saw on film that they’ve done differently than last year?

Guillermo: “Little bit more three down front. They’re sprinkle it in there, they don’t do it a lot. Not a lot different from their front.”

Question: Do you have a welcome to the rivalry story?

Guillermo: “No because I’ve been a Clemson fan my whole entire life so I’ve known about the rivalry and everything. Whenever you’re going through Columbia for the first time, a lot of people you notice are calling you number one. But it’s an awesome rivalry, it’s something special. Normally the fans intermingle with each other; You’ve got some Pitt tents when they were here with some Clemson tents. But not whenever the rivalry comes around. There’s a section of Clemson and there’s a section of South Carolina. We don’t intermingle…we don’t like each other.”

Question: Do you guys ever sit back and appreciate that you’re a part of a really good rivalry?

Guillermo: “Oh, yeah. Whenever it comes down to it, it’s a game. But again, South Carolina is not a team that we want to lose to.”

Question: When you were a kid, when was the first time you remembered the rivalry?

Guillermo: “I remember faintly whenever Clemson and South Carolina got in a fight. I think that was here in ’04. I have a very faint memory of that. I remember thinking ‘Wow, they really really do not like each other.’ That’s one of my first memories of it.”

Question: Is there more edge to Dabo this week than other weeks?

Guillermo: “I wouldn’t necessarily say more edge. I guess he reminds you a lot more of when we did lose 5 in a row and how terrible that was. I wouldn’t say there’s an edge, because he’s always pretty intense, always ready to go. He reminds us every day what we’re playing for.”

Question: After senior night, is it nice having one more game, another chance to go out and win?

Guillermo: “Yeah, you never want to go out like that. The chance that we had to go out with a win and to go out with a win against South Carolina is something that will definitely stay in our heads.”

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