By Gray Gardner.
CLEMSON, S.C. – Freshman defensive end Corey Crawford sat down with members of the media this week to discuss his first season as a Tiger and his thoughts on the Auburn and Florida State games.
Q: Do you feel like you’re actually a part of the team now, or do you still feel like the new guy?
Crawford: I feel like I’m part of the team now. I don’t feel like I was when I first got here in January.
Q: Were you expecting to play as much as you are now when you first came to Clemson?
Crawford: Not really. I thought I was going to redshirt because I thought we had more depth at my position. But, seeing that we didn’t, I saw that I had the opportunity to get in and play early. So I just did what I had to do.
Q: Are you happy with where you are now? Have you progressed as a player?
Crawford: I think my game has progressed a lot. It still has a ways to go to get where the coaches want me and where I want myself. But I do feel like I’ve gotten better since Hargrave (Military Academy) and high school.
Q: How much did Hargrave help your game?
Crawford: It helped a lot because every practice we always did Oklahoma drills to see who was the most physical person. So I feel like that helped out a lot.
Q: Has it been a lot of extra pressure wearing number 93 and having expectations to fill the role of DaQuan Bowers?
Crawford: At first it was kind of a lot. Or it wasn’t a lot, but I just didn’t know if I could. But as time went on, I realized I just had to be me – be the player I am. Don’t try to be a DaQuan Bowers or a Gaines Adams – who both are great players. I just have to do what Corey Crawford can do. If they think that’s good enough to where #93, then I guess that’s good.
Q: What’s the best part of your game right now?
Crawford: I say – right now – stopping the run defense. My pass rushing has to get better. I’ve got to get a better get-off and all that. So I’d say my run defense is a little better.
Q: Is there a player in the NFL that you watch and try to model your game after?
Crawford: I don’t even have to go to the NFL. I could go right here on my own team. Andre Branch – he’s a great player in my eyes. Everything he does is just something I want to do. I try to look at his game and see how I can use that to help mine. Andre Branch is like a model to me. Him, Kourtnei Brown, Malliciah Goodman – all them. All my upperclassmen in my position.
Q: Was the Auburn game one of the most physical games you’ve ever played in?
Crawford: All my games I’ve ever played in, this was the most physical.
Q: How do you think you did on Saturday?
Crawford: All I can say is that I got better from the last game. I played a pretty good game.
Q: Do you have a set of moves at your disposal? Or are you working on that?
Crawford: I’ll say that I have moves that I’m working on to get better, especially on my pass rush on defense.
Q: What do you know about Florida State?
Crawford: Watching bits and pieces of the Oklahoma game, they’re pretty good. They have a good quarterback. The running back is pretty good. Their o-line – all of them are returning, so they’re pretty good.
Q: Have you heard any updates on quarterback E.J. Manuel’s status?
Crawford: No I haven’t even been watching ESPN. I haven’t asked anybody. I didn’t even know he was hurt until this morning.
Q: Does it change your approach at all knowing that you may be facing an injured quarterback?
Crawford: No, because our mentality for every team we play is just get after the quarterback. So no matter who comes through here, we’re going to go after the quarterback the same way we would anyone else.