By Gray Gardner.
CLEMSON, SC – Clemson middle-linebacker Corico Hawkins sat down with members of the media earlier this week to discuss last week’s win against Virginia Tech, the fans’ reception at the West Endzone after the game, and the upcoming matchup against Boston College.
Q: Who was the more physical team Saturday?
CH: I’d have to say Clemson, of course.
Q: How do you guys keep grounded from all this?
CH: We just know where we come from. We’re a 6-7 football team until the end of the season comes around. Like I said last week, the same way we’re 4-0 – we’re 5-0 now – the same way we can be 5-5 five weeks from now. So we just stay grounded and we remember we were a 6-7 football team last year.
Q: Do you have to say anything to the younger guys to keep them in that same mindset?
CH: I think it’s just a team effort. We’re all keeping each other grounded, one way or the other, and that doesn’t necessarily mean just the young guys. All of us stay grounded.
Q: Did the defense gain confidence after holding VT to a field goal after they got down to the two yard line?
CH: We were confident from the first snap they took. We just kept playing. I wouldn’t say it was a confident booster, we just kept doing what we were doing the rest of the game.
Q: Do you think the defense showed what it could do a little bit, holding VT without a touchdown?
CH: I think we played great as a defense, we just have to continue to work, continue to do our job, from the next day on.
Q: What was up with Andre Branch?
CH: Every game he goes out and he does his job, and he tries to help us win, each and every Saturday.
Q: Twitter and Facebook came alive talking about when the team was going to get back to Clemson after the game. Did you expect that kind of reception?
CH: It was amazing and I did not expect it. It was amazing. When we got off the bus I was like – because I was sleeping – so when we got off the bus I was like what in the world. It was absolutely crazy out there. But it was good for our fans to be out there supporting us and let us know that they were watching us, that they had our back even though we were on the road. It was great to come home and see the fans out there.
Q: What was it like watching Dabo give his speech from up there?
CH: I didn’t see it. I was trying to get in my car and go home. It was 2:30 in the morning, so I was trying to go home.
Q: The last couple of years against Boston College have been defensive struggles. Do you expect the same this year?
CH: We know it’s going to be a physical one. We just have to show up and play, do our job, play our gaps, assignments. We’ll see what the scoreboard says at the end of the game.
Q: What do you think about Montel Harris?
CH: Montel Harris is a great running back. He does a great job of carrying the football and getting in and out of cuts and in and out of gaps, doing what it takes to get the team first downs when he has the ball in his hands. He’s a very great running back and he’s very respected in the ACC and across the nation.
Q: Do you avoid watching the hype on TV in order to remain grounded?
CH: I mean I watch it. Some of our teammates watch it too, I assume. Before the season started, nobody was talking Clemson. Now we’re the talk of the town, so to speak. Just as well as we got all this talk, all this talk could be killed. So we just have to stay humble, stay grounded and keep working on what we have to work on and go out and try to win on Saturdays.
Q: Missed tackles have been a trend this season for the defense. Do you think that was something you improved upon Saturday, or do you still need to work at it?
CH: We still have a lot of things to work on as a defense as a whole. We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’ll continue to improve.
Q: What types of things, specifically, do you still need to work?
CH: That would be a great question for Coach Steele. He could give you a good answer.