Despite a poor first half, fourth-ranked Clemson found a way to come back and defeat NC State last Saturday to take control of the ACC’s Atlantic Division.
As the Tigers continue their “Championship Phase” of the season, they now focus on their last ACC game of the regular season as they kickoff with the Florida State Seminoles Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Death Valley.
On Monday the media spoke with quarterback Kelly Bryant, co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott and ACC Defensive lineman of the Week Clelin Ferrell. Here is what we heard:
After throwing an interception in the opening drive that eventually led to a touchdown for the Wolfpack, Bryant bounced back to throw for a total of 191 yards which included a 12-yard touchdown pass to Deon Cain, while rushing for 88 yards and two more scores.
“Early on there was struggles and that was kind of frustrating because some throws I was just missing by a step,” Bryant said. “Also one I just remember I had Trevion (Thompson) up the seam. I just underthrew him and it could’ve been a touchdown but (I have to have) the mentality to just move on from it.
“That one-play mentality. I knew it was going to be a long game, but I just try not to let it linger in my mind. I’m just trying to lead the offense and stay on one play and keep that mentality and mindset that it’s going to be a long game. We have to keep playing.”
After Florida State’s starting quarterback Deondre Francois suffered a season-ending injury in his left knee in the first game of the season, the Seminoles, who began the season ranked No. 3 have not had the year anyone was expecting.
Despite coming into Saturday’s game with a 3-5 record, Florida State is still a physical team with a lot of talent at all parts of the field.
“They have (Tarvarus) McFadden, no. 4 who is a 6-foot-2 creature that plays corner that picked us off last year,” Elliott said Monday. “That’s one of the best in the country. Derwin James is back. He missed a game last year, he has a lot to prove. Those are potential NFL guys, I’m talking very, very high draft picks.
“Then you go to the defensive line and you have (Josh) Sweat and (Brian) Burns who are two of the most athletic and freaky guys I’ve seen coming off of the edge. Then inside they have (Demarcus) Christmas and (Derrick) Nnadi. They have Marvin (Wilson) the freshman. He’s playing a lot so they have an unbelievable amount of talent.”
Ferrell, who will be draft eligible at the end of the year, feels looking ahead and thinking about the decisions he will have to make in the future is “unfair to his teammates.”
“That’s not fair to my teammates or fair to myself. I’m just taking it one game at a time to be honest with you,” he said. “My plan, as far as that whole thing, I plan to come back and graduate next December. That’s my plan.
“But obviously you do have to think about things when you are eligible for stuff like that. As far as this being the last home game of the season next week (against The Citadel), I mean it’s crazy. It just shows how fast this year has gone by. You’ve really just got to hone in on the small things and take it day by day and just really appreciate it. That’s the word that Coach (Dabo) Swinney made his word. To appreciate. That’s what I would say.”