By Heath Bradley.
Clemson hit the practice fields for the first time Friday afternoon as they prepared to defend their ACC title. TheClemsonInsider.com caught up with quarterback Tajh Boyd and senior Dalton Freeman following Friday’s practice.
Quarterback Tajh Boyd
On Sammy Watkins Suspension
“It is an unfortunate situation. But, I feel like it will give an opportunity to step up for the first game. I am definitely excited about having him back for game three. For now we have to continue to work and continue to improve.”
“Sammy is one of the best, down to earth, most humble people that I have ever met. Situations happen sometimes, it is a lesson learned throughout the whole team, and throughout the state. Consequences have to be served, but at the same time I feel like something good will come out of this.”
“I am excited about the guys we have on this team though, we have plenty of capable guys who will be ready for September 1st.”
Thoughts on Day 1 and Expectations Entering the Season
We prepare ourselves throughout the whole summer to get ready for situations like these, to play in big time games, like in the Georgia Dome for the season opener. I am definitely excited about it; it is going to be fun. It is going to be a challenge and our guys are going to be up to the task.
On Moving Past The Orange Bowl
It is always going to be in the back of your mind; at the same time it is not something that we constantly think about.”
“I am excited about this season. I feel like we have a great and competitive schedule. I feel like I have a lot of expectations for the team and myself. It is going to be fun September 1st.”
On DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins Offseason Improvement
“Nuk is a phenomenal player, to put on some pounds but gain speed in the process. He is probably the most reliable target I have. He can recognize things, and I can see the same things. He can go out there and produce and make plays. Any quarterbacks that can have some receivers like that is exceptional, it is exciting, it makes you that much more comfortable on the field.”
Center Dalton Freeman
Team’s Reaction to Sammy Watkins Suspension
“We were obviously all very aware and prepared for the situation. Sammy has done nothing but get better since that. Ever since he has been on campus he has been an exemplary student athlete and we are going to take the punishment and move on.”
First Day Observations
“It is the start of a long process, but it was a good first day. It is obvious we have some youth on the team and we are going to need to get them going in the right direction with a little more tempo, but I thought overall it was a very good day.”
On Youth and Improvement
“We are definitely further along than we were at this time last year. It is obvious that the defense has done a good job of preparing this summer. Building up what they had learned over the spring under Coach Venables. The offense still has a lot to learn and put in, but like I said for the first day I was very pleased.”