By Will Vandervort
Clemson defensive tackle DeShawn Williams feels like No. 7 Ohio State does not respect the Tigers and he says the Tigers are eager to prove to the Buckeyes and the world how football is played in South Carolina.
Williams and No. 12 Clemson will take on the Buckeyes in the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.
Williams, who has 36 tackles this season from his defensive tackle position, was answering a question about on how a win over Ohio State might erase the bad taste of losing to both Florida State and South Carolina on the national stage this year.
“I think it would,” the junior said. “You remember the last time we went to the Orange Bowl it was not too pleasant and playing against The Ohio State Buckeyes, a big top-notch team, you know they don’t respect us.
“We have to take it and show them how we Southern boys play down here.”
They don’t play too bad up in Ohio, either. The Buckeyes are coming off a loss to Michigan State in the Big 10 Championship game, which snapped a 24-game winning streak at the time. Quarterback Braxton Miller was a Heisman Candidate for much of the season and running Carlos Hyde is one of the best running backs in the country.
Then there is the offensive line. A strong and athletic line that averages about 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds across.
“They are nasty up front,” Williams said. “They have a big running back. We have seen plenty of those this year. They are just fast – big, nasty and fast. They will bloody your nose. Get after you and they’ll show no prisoners.
“They’ll try to finish you and pretty much try to overpower you. They will put their will on you, and you know we have to take it and show them we can play with them.”
The first time Williams ever saw Ohio State play was in the 2002 BCS National Championship Game when the Buckeyes, the second-ranked team at the time, played top-ranked Miami. Ohio State is the only school from outside the Southern United States to officially win a BCS title. Southern Cal’s 2004 championship was vacated to due to NCAA violations.
“I was a big Miami fan back in the day when they had Sean Taylor, Willis McGahee and I watched that game,” Williams said. “I still remember that bad call they gave them. That was probably the first game I had seen them play when they Maurice Clarett and all of those guys.”
Speaking of Clarett, Williams ‘description of Hyde sounds a lot like the Buckeyes’ former running back from a football player standpoint.
Hyde has recorded eight straight 100-yard rushing games and has 1,408 yards and 14 touchdowns this year. He rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Illinois and ran for 226 yards and a score in the Buckeyes’ victory over Michigan.
“He is a big back with quick feet,” Williams said. “That’s what I see. I was watching the Northwestern game and they had their grass kind of high and they tried to slow him down. But he is quick feet choppy and he is a big strong back that can run away from you if he needs to. He is a good back.”
And Ohio State is a good team.
“They do what they do best, and that is run the ball,” Williams said. “It is one of those games where we know what is going to come and we just have to anchor down and have a physical ball game and just love it.”
While at the same time earn a little respect, too.