Second-ranked Clemson heads to Louisville this weekend to take on Lamar Jackson and the 14th-ranked Cardinals at Papa John’s Stadium in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday.
Before talking with media about the upcoming game, Clelin Ferrell praised his best friend, Austin Bryant, for the powerful impact he had in last Saturday’s game. The defensive end knows the defensive line has their work cut out for them against last year’s Heisman winner, but having Bryant back is a huge positive for the Clemson defense.
Question: After he missed a good chunk of the year last year with injuries, were you guys extra happy for Austin Bryant got more of the shine.
Ferrell: “Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Austin is a guy who you know we all came in together. He’s my best friend on the team and to see the success that he’s had so far early on in the season in two games, it’s just been a blessing to see how far he’s come from the injuries last year and coming back. That was real tough on him because he played a lot his freshman year and last year he wanted to come on and step into the starting role so coming in this year that just gave him a big boost of confidence having the performance that he did Saturday on a big stage like that so it was good to see him do that.”
Question: As a defense, do you have any chip on your shoulder of how many yards they were able to put up and points as well last year?
Ferrell: “Yeah definitely. This whole team has a chip on its shoulder. The team last year beat Louisville, this team didn’t beat Louisville so you know every year it’s a new team and a very good team over there in Louisville, 2-0 just like us. They don’t listen to any of what the critics say about us you know national champions last year or whatever they might say about our offense and defense. Those guys, knowing their culture, are going to come out and try to dominate us so we just have to be ready and realize that they’re not going to give us anything. We have to go out there and give our best shots.”
Question: A lot of people feel Deshaun Watson should have won the Heisman Trophy last year and not Lamar Jackson. Does that add an element of incentive as a defense?
Ferrell: “I don’t think it does. Obviously, here we are going to be bias because we feel like Deshaun was the best player in college football but you can’t take it away from that guy over there with a guy like Lamar Jackson. We saw how he played against us. He fought all night and that was really a good thing to see. He had his ups and downs but didn’t stop fighting and that’s what I like about him. He’s truly a really good player. He’s one of the best I’ve played against in college so I can’t take that away from him. He deserved everything he got last year.”
Question: You said a couple of weeks ago that Jackson was the most frustrating quarterback you guys faced. Going back to that night (last year) what made it so frustrating for you?
Ferrell: “Just that he can do so much. He’s so dynamic in what he does. People say he’s not a good passer and they’re crazy because I don’t know too many guys that can put a zip on the ball like he can and who can throw at that type of velocity with big play ability like he can. He can throw that thing on a rope down the field. You can see that in the UNC game this past Saturday and obviously we know what he can do with his feet. He’s as dynamic as they come. He is a very athletic guy that can make any move. That whole offense has given him the key. It’s his third year going into this so that just makes it harder with just how well he knows the system and those guys love him and play for him hard. They have a good group out front so it’s just a whole other level with trying to stop that offense.”