By Gray Gardner.
Sophomore linebacker Corico Hawkins is anxious to get back on the field after the team’s open week.
Hawkins, who has tallied 2 sacks and 1 quarterback hurry in three games this season, said that getting pressure on the quarterback is key, regardless if it is Jacory Harris or not.
“It’s always great to get pressure on anyone, whoever the quarterback might be,” Hawkins said. “I could be standing back there at quarterback and if you get pressure on me I’m gonna get a little ancy too. We just have to get pressure every week.”
When asked how this Miami team is different from last year’s, Hawkins simply replied, “It’s Miami.”
“They’re a very physical football team, they’re a good football team, they’re well coached and they play hard,” he said. “Of course they’ve got different players but they’ve got the same uniform on and they do the same things. They’re well coached so those guys come out every week playing hard and doing what they’re coached to do.”
The sophomore backer said he has watched a lot of film on what Miami likes to do offensively but that honestly, “…there’s never enough film.” However, one thing that Hawkins has noticed is Miami’s talent at running back.
“Miami has always had great running backs and they still do,” he said. “Their guys are phenomenal runners, they’re hard runners, they’re downhill runners. They know how to run behind their pads. They’re some good backs.”
This could mean trouble for a Clemson team that ranks 96th in the nation in run defense, largely due to the lack of experience at linebacker.
When asked how he felt his position group has contributed to the defense’s lack of success, Hawkins said he did not think the linebackers were the main issue.
“I don’t really particularly think that that’s the problem,” he said. “As long as everyone is on the same page and everybody’s out doing the same thing playing their gap, we’ll be alright.”
“We’re just continuing to do what we’ve doing all season – just trying to play to the best of our ability, have guys in the right position to make plays, guys going out and doing their jobs and doing them hard, relentless effort with great alignment, assignment, eyes and effort.”
To that, a member of the media quickly remarked, “But that hasn’t worked very well so far.” Hawkins struggled to laugh but did not respond.
He went on to say that it doesn’t really matter what people are saying about the team.
“We take a next game, next week, next play mentality,” Hawkins said. “We don’t worry about what people say about us or what people think of us, we just go out and do what we’re supposed to do and try and get the W regardless of what the situation may be or the circumstances.”
The situation this week turns out to be one of the most important games of the year: homecoming versus a top 16 ACC opponent.
Hawkins reiterated that the circumstances will not affect the way his team performs.
“It really doesn’t matter if they’re number 1 or number 115. It doesn’t really matter,” he said. “Every game is the most important game of the year. You just have to come out and do what you’re coached to do and get the W.”