Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins is excited to get the new season going, which he and the fifth-ranked Tigers will do come Saturday in Death Valley when they host Kent State at noon on ESPN.
Wilkins expressed his excitement for the season opener and also discussed how the quarterback position looked in his opinion.
The junior also touched on his personal performance and how he has improved in his two years at Clemson.
Question: How excited are you about hitting other players other than your teammates in the opener?
Wilkins: “Oh yeah. I am really excited for that. The first game is always really exciting. There is always more emotion in that first game of the year. I am just really looking forward and excited to see what this team is going to be and what our identity is going to be. It all starts on Saturday. We are going to put the work in everyday this week. We had a good summer and a good camp, and like you said, we get to go hit someone else other than each other.”
Question: Looking at the offensive side of the ball, have you noticed a confidence in Kelly Bryant?
Wilkins: “No doubt in my mind at all. I am actually really excited to see what Kelly can do. He is my quarterback. Him and Tucker are the guys that I came in with, they are the 2015 class. I am really excited to see what Kelly can do and I have full faith that he can get the job done and I am rally excited that he is our starter. I think that if Clemson Nation really gets behind Kelly or whoever our quarterback is throughout the course of this season, then they are going to do a great job. That is my challenge to Clemson Nation and everyone else. Just to really support and give the same love that number four got last year and the years before. I know it’s going to have to be earned but I definitely think Tiger Nation should give that same love and respect to whoever our starting quarterback is because whoever it is, he is going to be able to get the job done.”
Question: What are some things that you have personally seen Kelly accomplish over the last month in preparation for the opener?
Wilkins: “Oh yeah I have definitely seen it. You know just Kelly making tighter throws and throwing it into certain windows here and there. He just really seems calm and cool at times and not really making anything be too big or too challenging for him. He just really seems very calm and cool and there is a reason he is a starter. He is our leader now on offense.”
Question: What specific areas of your game do you feel like you have improved between last year and this year?
Wilkins: “The biggest thing I think I improved on is just my knowledge. I know a lot more about offenses now. Really my first year here, everything was still brand new to me. Last year, things kind of slowed down and now even this year things have really slowed down I understand what the offense is trying to do and that’s really going to help me perform. To be a good defensive player, you have to know the offense. That’s going to be a big thing for me this year is just picking up what the offenses are going to do.”
Question: Do you feel like all of the guys on both offense and defense are on the same page being so early in the season?
Wilkins: “Really it just starts with the preparation. If we all put the work in on all phases of the game, special teams, offense and defense then we all should click. I think if we do that then we should be a tough team to beat. If we are clicking on all sides and if we are all playing our best then it should be hard on other teams. If each individual understands that they have a job that they have to do for the overall team success. If everyone does what they are supposed to do on both sides of the ball then we should be fine.”