Second-ranked Clemson continues its preparation for No. 14 Louisville before the Primetime matchup Saturday night at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Ky.
On Tuesday Dabo Swinney held his weekly press conference and the media also spoke with defensive end Christian Wilkins, cornerback Trayvon Mullen, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, and defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
Here is what we heard:
“Really excited about another big challenge this week,” Swinney said. “Louisville is obviously an outstanding team and a difficult place to play. (College) GameDay is heading up there, it’s an 8:12 p.m. kickoff, it’s exciting and we are really looking forward to it.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun and to me that’s what you come to Clemson for games like that in great environments. I have a lot of respect for Louisville. We have had some incredible battles with them and don’t expect this one to be any different.”
There has been much talk about how to contain Louisville quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. Wilkins knows how heavily prepared the team has to be and even called Jackson the best player in college football.
“First it starts with putting together a good game plan and from there we have to prepare every practice with focus and intensity being locked in and dialed in,” said Wilkins. “(Lamar Jackson) is the best player in college football and you have to be prepared for that.
“Obviously, he’s a really talented and dynamic player, he’s going to make plays but you can’t let that stop you from playing to your game plan and doing your job. There is a reason he is the Heisman trophy winner.”
As Mullen uses this week to prepare for the tough matchup he spent some time Tuesday talking about what he knows about Jackson on a different level because the two are actually cousins.
“We talk every day. Even when we’re not playing we just talk. We don’t even so much talk about football and us playing, we just talk because we’re cousins. But as far as talking about the game and things like that, we haven’t discussed that.
“We always played against each other our whole life. Little league football, we always played against each other in Super Bowls, regular season. We never played on the same time, we always played against each other. How he is now is how he was before. He was always that type of player.”
Renfrow spent a portion of the time reflecting back to when Clemson played at Louisville in 2015 and he caught his first-career touchdown.
“That seems like so much has happened since then,” Renfrow said. “That seems like it was yesterday but it also seems like it was 10 years ago. I remember my parents weren’t going to come up to that game because it was eight hours away and I wasn’t even starting that game. I caught a little post and I remember it was a four-quarter game just like Auburn. We both traded blows but we came out on top.”
Venables has one of if not the best defense in the country, but even he knows how tough facing Jackson will be.
“It is fun, but the more you see of it, the sicker you get,” Venables said. “I’ll be honest, because it’s like, all of the plays he makes even when he is not there. That’s a good call and then you are looking for the result and its plus-9.”