Coming off of a win against No. 20 Louisville, second-ranked Clemson now focuses on its kickoff with Boston College this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Death Valley.
On Monday the media spoke with defensive end Clelin Ferrell, quarterback Kelly Bryant, co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, offensive tackle Tremayne Anchrum, wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud, punter Will Spiers, safety Isiah Simmons, defensive back K’von Wallace and running back Travis Etienne.
Here is what we heard:
“Coach (Dabo) Swinney brought up the history of the so-called rivalry we’ve had with Louisville the past few years and every game leading up to this one,” said Ferrell. “We felt we kind of left something on the table… I feel like this past weekend we just wanted to come out and show we are the better team and we weren’t going to let what anyone says about any of the hype around us or around them get in the way of just going out there and executing the plan.”
After three good starts including wins over two top 15 teams, Bryant has proven he’s the one for the job. However, he’s still not completely satisfied and knows there are improvements he can make.
“Just being more consistent with intermediate routes,” Bryant said Monday. “I know sometimes during the game Saturday balls were sailing high on me. It was me just trying to press. It was tough for me to just take a deep breath and just enjoy the moment and just play rather than trying to play tense and too tight. The past few weeks I feel like I’ve gotten better.”
“He’s just like Deshaun. He’s his biggest critic,” Elliott said of Bryant. “He’s going to be harder on himself than we are… and he’s very, very humble. I don’t think Kelly is the type of young man that cares about what the spotlight says. He cares about this team, he cares about this offense, and you can tell by the way he’s playing.”
Swinney made it clear the message going into the road game with Louisville was “leave no doubt” and that’s exactly what the Tigers did.
“The message to us was to be the best we could and to really exercise what we’ve been practicing all week and all year,” said Anchrum. “We can be the best in this league if we reach our potential.”
“I used to be not nervous, but got butterflies,” said McCloud. “The good kind of nervous, but in the game I was so prepared and practiced so well that we just executed.”
Another player who has emerged this season is redshirt freshman punter Will Spiers, who was named ACC Specialist of the Week after leaving three punts inside the 20 and had an overall punting average of 51.8 yards.
“My mindset is to just go out there and do the best that I can,” Spiers said. “I just trust my punt team that they will go down there and cover the returner and they’ve been doing a great job of that all year so I can’t give enough credit to them.”
After safety Tanner Muse was ejected from the Louisville game for targeting, redshirt freshman Isiah Simmons has to step up and take over.
“Like Coach Swinney always tells us, ‘Next man up,’ so I’ve just been waiting for my time and it came. I made sure I was prepared for what was coming for me.”
“We are a young team, obviously,” Wallace said. “Especially in the back seven but we are all ready to play. Our preparation is like no other so Isiah Simmons going in there and stepping in as a backup…contributing and him bringing us that win that shows that we have talent, great preparation and nobody is left behind here.”
Etienne, who had an 81-yard touchdown run, is a native of Jennings, La., and talked about why he chose Clemson over his home team, LSU.
“Just coming here and just seeing it for the first time, I fell in love with the people first off, then the facility really helped,” Etienne said. “Looking into it when I got back home, the culture and just seeing how they’ve done in recent years with the running backs and the offense as a whole, and the head coach was an offensive player… So just looking at that, Clemson really sold me.”