For many in South Carolina rivalry week is the most important week of the year as Clemson and South Carolina get together for the 116th time on Saturday at Death Valley.
Though he is from the state of Maryland, Clemson linebacker Shaq Smith is now very much aware of how much hatred there is between the Tigers and the Gamecocks. He says there might be hatred towards Clemson down in Columbia, but the feelings are mutual here in the Upstate as well.
Smith on the hatred of this rivalry
“It’s a different feeling. It’s not like this every week in college football, when you’re running into the locker room and people are spitting on you and throwing stuff on you. There might be some hatred in their blood down there, but the feelings are mutual. It’s a big game.”
Smith on rattling Jake Bentley
“That’s a point every week…to rattle the quarterback. I feel if we take away the quarterback, there’s not much the offense can do. We get after him early and see what that brings.”
Smith focusing on only South Carolina this week
“All our attention is on South Carolina. It’s the biggest game of the year because it’s the next game. Coach (Dabo) Swinney says to stay focused on the one-game season. We’re just trying to go 1-0 this week, then we will focus on next week. As far as this week goes, South Carolina is in our way and that’s the biggest game of the season.”
Smith on a rivalry memory
“My redshirt year Mike (Williams) taking Buddy for a ride to the end zone. Other than that it’s been a great couple of years against this bunch.”
Smith on what stands out to him on South Carolina’s offense
“Tempo. They’re a very tempo bunch. The tempo for a lot of defenses is a way to slow a defense down and keep a very vanilla defense. That’s going to be the biggest thing that we will need to focus on this week is handling the tempo and being ready for that.”