Clemson continues its “Championship Phase” of the schedule as the Tigers prepare to play Miami on Saturday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlottte in their third consecutive ACC Championship Game appearance.
On Monday the media spoke with defensive end Christian Wilkins, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott and quarterback Kelly Bryant.
Here is what we heard:
Despite how poorly Clemson players and coaches were treated by the South Carolina fans last Saturday, Wilkins decided to have a little fun as he stayed in quarterback Jake Bentley’s ear the whole game.
“I was just having a general conversation with him, as far as getting into his head,” he said with a smile. “Just asked him what he had for a pregame meal and stuff like that. Just had a good fun conversation with him.”
Renfrow had one of his best games of the season Saturday scoring two touchdowns in one game for the first time since the 2016 National Championship, one of which included a 61-yard touchdown which was the longest touchdown reception of his career.
“I remember when I was in high school and we’d hear “fear the thumb” and all that,” Renfrow said. “It motivated me being from South Carolina. Hopefully, we can get the fifth one next year.”
Renfrow claims he was not aware objects were being thrown at him during the game, one of which included a Coke bottle that was caught on camera hitting him after he scored to make it 27-0 at the start of the third quarter.
“I wasn’t (aware) at all,” he said. “You see them throw stuff in pregame… It’s just dangerous. We know it wasn’t everybody in the student section. It was just some, but that wasn’t safe at all.”
Lawrence was back at defensive tackle in Saturday’s game after missing both the Florida State and Citadel game because of an ankle injury.
“I feel good getting back on the field,” he said. “Being out there with my boys, I missed it.
“It hurt a little bit sitting out those two weeks, but I’m definitely much better,” he continued. “I’m happy that I took that rest and I’m ready to finish out the season strong with my guys.”
The Tigers will be challenged Saturday as the Miami defense has already forced 29 turnovers this season. Scott gave much credit to their defense and also stressed the importance of ball security.
“Doesn’t take very long when you turn on Miami’s tape and start watching that to see how talented they are on defense,” Scott said. “Very aggressive, very athletic. Will definitely be one of the top defenses that we face this year.
“They also have a lot of depth. That’s really impressive. I think they play nine guys on the defensive line, and not a big drop-off there.”
Bryant, who has led his team to success all year, is eager for the opportunity to potentially lead his team to another ACC Championship. After watching from the sidelines for two years he is confident and ready to play in the game this time around.
“Being on the sideline two years, being at the ACC Championship Game, now it’s an opportunity for me and a couple new faces to actually be the ones contributing in the game,” he said. “A trophy is on the line, so we’re going to be excited and ready to play.”