For Clemson running back Wayne Gallman, the past couple of weeks since the ACC championship game and the next couple of weeks before the College Football Playoff semifinal game against Ohio State are serving in part as a rejuvenating break from the hits and physical toll he took for six straight weeks after the Tigers’ bye week in late October.
Though the time off feels good for Gallman in that sense, the junior anticipates he’ll be antsy in the days leading up to the Dec. 31 kickoff at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
“When I’m fully prepared, I’m just ready to play,” Gallman said. “I get tired of meetings and film study because we’ve done so much, and I’m just ready. I’m locked in and I’m ready to play.”
And the Tigers will need Gallman to be ready.
Clemson is 5-0 this season when Gallman has rushed for 100 or more yards, and moreover, Clemson is 17-0 in those games over Gallman’s career.
Gallman’s 17 career 100-yard rushing games are a Clemson record, and the native of Loganville, Ga., now ranks fifth in Clemson history with 3,298 career rushing yards.
“I just go out there and play,” Gallman said. “I don’t really focus on the stats and everything, I just do everything I can on the field to help the team win.”
Those yards on the ground could be harder to come by against a stingy Ohio State defense.
Led in the front seven by linebackers Raekwon McMillan, Jerome Baker and Chris Worley, and defensive linemen Dre’mont Jones, Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis, the Buckeyes enter the game having allowed just 117.1 rushing yards per contest, a mark that is good for 14th nationally.
“They try their best to stop the run,” Gallman said. “It seems like their secondary is very good, as is their box. A little bit more quarterback runs, different things of that nature, get an extra block might help against them from what I’ve seen on film.”
Clemson began practicing this week for the playoff, and the Tigers have five practices left until they depart for Arizona. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said his team will have the game plan finalized by then before fine-tuning and polishing the details out west.
Gallman is confident he and the Tigers will be prepared and ready to go by game time on New Year’s Eve.
“Preparation is preparation, and we have two weeks,” Gallman said, “so we’ll be ready.”