The media spoke with Clemson strong side defensive end Albert Huggins earlier this week.
Huggins discussed his role on the team and what the coaches expect from him. The 6-foot-3 junior from Orangeburg, S.C., had three sacks last season and said he wants to continue his progression by putting in even more effort this season.
He also spoke about how Gage Cervenka is coming along at center and how the former defensive tackle is making him better in practice every day.
Question: How is camp going so far?
Huggins: “It’s going pretty good. This is one of the harder weeks but just because it is so hot outside and we have to get used to the sun, but it’s been a pretty good week.”
Question: Have you gotten any feedback from the coaches on how your month is going?
Huggins: “They see me improving but I just have to keep on grinding. Like I said, this is one of the hardest weeks so this is one of the weeks where I have to prove myself that I can actually play and that I won’t get tired. Give effort.”
Question: What did the coaches tell you going into the summer? What were the things they wanted to see?
Huggins: “They told me ‘hey we need you’ and ‘can we count on you’ and just to step up and be a part of this team so that’s one thing I am trying to take under consideration and actually go out and practice hard.”
Question: Going back to last summer and you said you had to take things more seriously, do you think that has come to fruition?
Huggins: “Yes, when I said that last summer, it happened. I took it more seriously. I actually got more playing time. The same with this year, just playing hard, take it seriously, giving it more effort and just trying to show the coaches ‘hey you can count on me’.”
Question: Do you work more with of Dexter Lawrence’s position or Christian Wilkins’?
Huggins: “We work both, nose and three technique.”
Question: Who is there alongside you, I guess with the twos?
Huggins: “It all depends on what day it is to be honest. Coach (Todd) Bates likes to switch it up so that’s a question for him really. It all depends and he always switches it up.”
Question: Where do you feel like you have made the most improvement?
Huggins: “I would say with my effort. I still have a long way to go. Sometimes I get tired and that’s really what I’m trying to improve on and have improved on over the summer with conditioning and stuff like that.”
Question: What have you seen out of Nyles Pinckney?
Huggins: “Nyles is Nyles, you know. We don’t ever recruit bad players. He has talent, he can make plays, you just have to put everyone in the same mindset and say ‘let’s go do this’. He can play with the best of us. You put Dexter in, you put Christian in, you put Nyles in and take Dexter out, and there is no difference. And that is how it should be … no difference.”
Question: What do you see in Jordan Williams so far, being a new player?
Huggins: “He is a freshman, he is coming along and he still has a lot to learn. Sometimes we are in a meeting and he just doesn’t know but we take him under our wing and teach him a lot. Christian is doing a good job with him. He always knows I am here. I am his big brother so there are no words. Anything he needs, I have him.”
Question: You go against a lot of different offensive lineman, who is somebody that has jumped out to you?
Huggins: “You always have Taylor Hearn, Tyrone Crowder and you have Gage Cervenka. They always play hard and you better bring your A game because if you don’t, it’s going to be a bad day for you.”
Question: So you think Gage Cervenka has progressed pretty well?
Huggins: “Yeah he has. (Justin) Falcinelli has too … both of them have done great and I feel like it is even between them. I don’t play offense but I feel like they are good players. Falcinelli goes out and Gage goes right in, there shouldn’t be any downfall there.”
Question: What is the toughest thing about dealing with Gage?
Huggins: “He is a powerful guy. You know he used to play defensive tackle so he knows who you are. You always have to bring new stuff to the table and that’s the hardest thing. He makes you better because you have to just work with your new things. You can’t bring old things to the table all of the time because he will get you every time.”
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