Clemson offensive tackle, Tremayne Anchrum spoke to the media during media day in Clemson earlier this week as the Tigers get set to play Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff at the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29 in Arlington, Texas.
The Tigers are four quarters away from playing in the national championship game for the third time in four seasons.
Question: AT&T Stadium is one of those places everyone wants to play at. What are your thoughts on that?
Anchrum: “That’s special, man. Playing in Dallas, that’s a dream and that’s not something you get to do every day so it’s a rare opportunity that we’re going to take advantage of.
Question: Is there any reflection in your mind? You’ve played in the Sugar Bowl now, Fiesta Bowl, Cotton Bowl. Is there any reflection of what it’s like playing in all of these different bowl games, National Championship?
Anchrum: “It’s like you don’t really appreciate it as much when you’re there but afterwards you’re like, ‘Wow this is a really special thing that not everybody in the world does,’ only like five percent get to experience something like that. Those experiences go a long way.”
Question: The teams your playing, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Alabama, does that kind of hit you a little bit?
Anchrum: “Yeah at the time it’s just another opponent but after you look at it you’re like, ‘This is stories you can tell your friends, kids,’ just a lot of talking pieces down the road. Like ‘Hey I played Notre Dame in Dallas in AT&T Stadium.’ Like that is something that’s big that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.”
Question: With these opponents you’re playing, with these games that your at, is that one of the reasons you chose a place like Clemson?
Anchrum: “Every time I considered a school in recruiting I wanted to see what team would allow me to play at the highest level with the highest caliber players because I had just always felt like I was one of the top tier players in the country. I wanted to test my talent against the other top guys in the country. I felt like Clemson gave me an opportunity to do that.”
Question: Speaking of top players, I just talked to Gage (Cervenka) and Sean (Pollard), they’re both coming back next year. What is this offensive line going to look like?
Anchrum: “Dominant, it’s just going to be dominant. It’s going to be a really experienced, vetted group that knows how to get down, knows how to work and knows how to put our team on our back and really trudge forward.”
Question: So does that mean you’re coming back too?
Anchrum: “Yeah, that was a tricky question right there and you got me but yeah.”
Question: You’ve already set the record for touchdowns with what you hope are two games left, and yet all of the skill guys are left expect for Hunter (Renfrow), Trevion (Thompson). Mitch (Hyatt) and Justin (Falcinelli) are gone but really this offense comes back intact. What’s that going to be like?
Anchrum: “It’s going to be scary, for other teams really. It’s going to be something that will shock the world because once you get a team that’s found its grove, part of the problem is the mental battle, ‘Can we do it?’ Once we got over that hump, ‘Can we do it?’ let’s see how far we can take it to see if we can find that roof or we may not find it next year. It’s going to be a scary thing for other teams.”
Question: You’re averaging 50 points, over 500 yards a game ever since Trevor (Lawrence) became your starting quarterback. How do you get better from that?
Anchrum: “Keep working. There’s a lot of mistakes if you watch that game film. We didn’t do everything right the way we should’ve. We definitely missed some hits, we definitely had a lot of misques so really you’re never go to play a perfect game ever. But if you do clean up the mistakes there’s no telling where you could be.”
Question: Going back to that Trevor and Kelly (Bryant) deal, how difficult was that week now that you look back? How difficult was it and how did the coaches handle it?
Anchrum: “It was pretty difficult. I mean that’s a guy that took you to the playoffs. He took you to a top caliber team. But at the same time you have to understand that you have to do what’s best for the team and we never scored like this with Kelly and that’s because Trevor is a different kind of quarterback. So looking back on it, it was a tough decision but if it’s the decision to put the team over one person than that’s what we’re going to have to do and that’s not personal. That’s just the best decision.”
Question:What is Trevor like out on the field in the huddle?
Anchrum: “He’s a sweetheart, man. He’s a field general with a kid’s heart. He’s filled with a lot of joy. He smiles and laughs a lot. He sometimes fixes my shoulder pad when I get up from digging somebody into the ground. That’s really the kind of guy that he is, the type of person he is. I’m grateful to have him at quarterback.”
Question: You played with DeShaun (Watson). Obviously a great guy and great quarterback How do the two differ and how are they similar?
Anchrum: “I guess they’re similar to the way they lead. A lot more by example. Deshaun just gives off this energy that you just kind of emulate and gets contagious to everyone when he says, ‘Let’s go we’re going to play. I’m going downhill, who’s coming with me?’ It’s more of a ‘Let’s follow him type of leadership.’ Trevor is that same way but he’s different because he’s a little more vocal. Sometimes he needs to talk himself through it. Once he starts talking to us, we start getting on the same page. So it’s not the energy that we feed off of, it’s kind of the accuracy that we feed off of. When Trevor gets going you know if you give this guy time he’s going to make a play and that’s what you hope and that’s what you depend on.”
Question: People see him and they think he’s probably not athletic. Is he more athletic than people think?
Anchrum: “They’re crazy don’t listen to those people. I remember one time seeing Trevor scramble to the left and I was like, ‘Oh crap here he goes. It’s Syracuse all over again.’ But he hit that sideline and he was gone. I had to start speeding up a little bit. I started thinking, ‘Okay I might not catch him.’ He’s really deceitfully athletic because you know he’s 6’7. He’s long, he’s like a stallion. Once you get him going it’s hard to stop him.”
Question: Talk about Notre Dame’s defensive line. They have (Jerry) Tillery in the middle. They have two, big defensive ends and then they stand a guy up. How different are they and what kind of challenges do they bring. It seems like they only bring four people all of the time.
Anchrum: “It’s not like something we haven’t seen before. Their talent level is pretty top tier. They are one of the best defensive lines in the country hands down. I compare them to Florida State. They have talent through and through with every position and it’s that kind of game where you’re just going to have to tie it and lace them up and go. They’re a really talented bunch that doesn’t try to confuse you, doesn’t try to trick you. They’re going to line up and they’re going to try to beat you and that’s the kind of game we like.”
Question: What do they do with their linebackers? Do they do anything with their linebackers, their safeties to try to confuse the quarterback?
Anchrum: “Sometimes they’ll bring a little sam five. Sometimes they’ll bring a safety down and he’ll creep where he’s not supposed to. But since they have such great, top tier athletes, they can get there with those guys. Their secondary is so good that they can give a little bit of time to that defensive line and linebackers and safety to get there. That’s one of those things where they’re going to try to line up and beat you.”
Question: With that guy standing up do they drop him back in coverage sometimes?
Anchrum: “Sometimes they’ll disguise it and they’ll drop that end out to try to get the flag, to try to get something outside and he’s gets a little tricky but ultimately we’re going to have to do more research and more practice.”
Question: Is this going to be the biggest challenge for Trevor as far as the looks they are going to give him?
Anchrum: “Yeah because they’re not very complex. They’re going to line up and they’re going to try to beat you in simple looks, simple coverages. But they can move so well and they do it so well that it does prevent a challenge of its own. I think Trevor is going to be up for the challenge. He’s ready, he does his research, his film study and he’s going to do well.”
Question: Dabo said a lot of post snap reads are going to have to come because of the way you just described things. The way they change things up when the ball is snapped.
Anchrum: “Yeah so they’ll show you one look and then they’ll line up and get in their true formation. When they get into that they’re really good at what they do. So you get shown one look at you drop out and now you have to start processing. But that’s the special thing with Trevor. Not many young quarterbacks, not many quarterbacks period can do that. Here you have a young guy who can really read, who can really process information quickly. Not only can he process information but he can do the things asked of him.”