Wilkins keeps Etienne focused as Tigers begin preparations for Notre Dame

Wilkins keeps Etienne focused as Tigers begin preparations for Notre Dame


Wilkins keeps Etienne focused as Tigers begin preparations for Notre Dame


All Travis Etienne wanted to do was kind of take it easy and enjoy his time off from football. All Christian Wilkins wanted to do was get to work.

Let’s just say Wilkins won.

Clemson’s All-American defensive tackle put the ACC’s Player of the Year to work prior to this week’s ESPN Awards Show in Atlanta.

“Christian forced me too,” Etienne said with a laugh. “I have been working out with him a little bit and I have just been chilling.”

However, it was not a little work out. Wilkins pushed the Clemson running back to get a good work out in the night before the show. It’s important to the senior that the second-ranked Tigers stay as sharp as they can be as they get set to play No. 3 Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29 as part of the College Football Playoff semifinals.

“Honestly, it was intense. It was more intense than I thought,” Etienne said of the workout. “I actually kind of gave up in the middle of it and he was like ‘come on man!’ So, I had to finish it for him.”

Etienne, a sophomore, said he is impressed with how dedicated Wilkins is and how he pushes himself to be the best.

“I don’t how he does it,” the running back said. “He fights every day. He woke up early this morning and he was at it again.”

Etienne just laughed when describing Wilkins dedication and said, “I couldn’t make that one.”

The Tigers (13-0) have had the last week off and will be off until Wednesday when they begin practice.

“I felt the break has been great. It could not have come at a better time,” Etienne said.

Clemson will need every bit of the break to heal its bodies before going against a Notre Dame defense that has been solid all year long. Etienne described the Irish defenders as a physical group that plays hard and is always around the football.

“It is going to be a hard-fought physical game and we’re going to have to hone in on the little things and get back to the basics,” he said. “I’ve watched a couple of (their) games. They’re physical. They are going to come down hill at you and try to hit you.”



Clemson struggled to flip the field via the punt last season but had the talent on defense to carry an extra load with a short field. This season, a younger Tiger defense may need some help from the punters. (…)

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