After coming off of an unexpected loss to Syracuse, the seventh-ranked Clemson had to wait even longer for the opportunity to bounce back with a bye this past weekend.
They’ll now get the chance to rebound with an 8 p.m. kickoff this Saturday in Death Valley against Georgia Tech.
On Monday the media spoke with quarterback Kelly Bryant, running back Adam Choice, co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, running back Travis Etienne, defensive end Clelin Ferrell and safety Tanner Muse. Here is what we heard:
On Oct. 7, Bryant suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter while playing Wake Forest. He missed the rest of that game but returned on Oct. 13 against Syracuse where he injured his ankle again and also suffered a concussion.
“My ankle is feeling good,” he said. “It is feeling better than how I was feeling last week. I’m still going through treatment to get it back right for Saturday.”
Bryant has been cleared to play but said his ankle is feeling 80 or 85 percent. Monday was his first day practicing again and he was excited to get back to work and live action.
“I ran a little bit on it last week. So I’m eager to run on it again today,” Bryant said. “This is my first day back practicing so I’ll just have to see how it goes from there. But it is feeling good.”
After having an extra week to let the loss linger, running back Adam Choice is ready to put that behind them and come out strong Saturday.
“We’re just trying to learn and grow from it and just move on forward,” said Choice. “Coach Swinney always preaches the windshield mentality. What’s in the past is in the past. We can’t do anything about it. We have to just move onto the next one and go out and get that next win.”
Tony Elliott is very pleased with how the team responded to the Syracuse loss. For many of them it was only the first or second loss they’ve experienced as a Tiger.
“It was good to see those guys take coaching,” he said. “Being humble about their approach, taking ownership of the things we needed to correct both on and off of the field and really just focusing on the details. So really pleased with what we got accomplished last week.”
The bye week came at a good time as it allowed players to give their bodies extra rest and treatment and also allowed them to take their minds off of football for a while. Freshman Travis Etienne was excited to return home after being away for several months now.
“It was great being able to go home and see all my family,” Etienne said. “Just being there was great. It felt like I had been gone for so long.”
Georgia Tech is certainly no team to be taken lightly and Clelin Ferrell is pleased with how disciplined and sound the Tiger defense has been overall. He feels that’s exactly what it will take to contain the Yellow Jackets.
“Discipline,” said the redshirt sophomore. “That’s what defeating (Georgia Tech’s) whole scheme is about. It’s not about winning your matchup or having the better guys on the opposite side of the ball. It’s about being disciplined because the one time you get lazy and don’t want to run the ball down the backside… the ball can break for 50 or 60 yards so that’s the biggest thing.”
“They’re very dangerous in the play actions,” said Tanner Muse. “You have to keep your eyes on your key. If you don’t for one little second your guy is going to run right past you. They have good speed on the edges so being able to lock in on your keys is going to be a huge factor in this game.”