Clemson safety Tanner Muse 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.
Question: Let’s start out with Notre Dame. Tell me what you’ve seen on film with these guys and what do you expect out of Ian Book, especially?
Muse: “They are a real physical team, a real technical team. There’s big guys on the outside. They do a great job of blocking. I think almost their whole offensive line is over 6’6. So it will be a test for us in the trenches. Then the outside, big guys, 6’3, 200 plus pounds. I think it’s going to be a real physical game and we’re just going to have to bring it.”
Question: They’re a run first team, wouldn’t you say?
Muse: “Yeah they have three really good backs that they rotate really well. So they’re going to have a real clean, healthy guy in there at all times. It will be a test because usually you get only one good running back and he’ll kind of tire out as the game goes on. But there is no drop-off so it will be tough all through the game.”
Question: I know they brought in Ian Book that fourth game. Dexter Williams started that fourth game also. How different did their offense change once those two guys started and they started getting that offense rolling?
Muse: “I think they had the same mindset going in but what those guys bring is different. It’s always a read that they have and those two guys obviously have two different reads, so you see different offenses but it’s still the same scheme. I think that’s the difference you see from the first couple of games to the next couple of games. It’s still the same reads but different mindsets.”
Question: Their wide receivers on the outside are both 6’5 guys. Is this the tallest group of receivers you’ve faced?
Muse: “I think so. Texas A&M had some really big dudes as well and they had a lot of thick guys too that were really hard to bring down. But you see these guys crack a lot. They’ll get in tight formations and then we’ve seen numerous times them knock linebackers off of their feet. So you know they’re real big, physical guys. Just being able to hold your ground when that comes and get after them.”
Question: This is probably the most balanced offense you guys have faced since South Carolina. What lessons can you take from that game?
Muse: “Just tie up loose ends. I’m thinking about that South Carolina game. I’ve mentioned before there were about five or six plays that were really bad plays that we’d like to get back. But all in all we did pretty good. But I think just tying up loose ends and not giving them the cheap plays is the main thing we need to do.
Question: How excited are you to go play in AT&T Stadium at “Jerry’s World?”
Muse: “I’m really excited. It holds like 100,000 people. I know my family is excited. They’ll get out there a couple of days before and enjoy themselves. I’m also excited to go to Texas. I’ve never been. That’s one of my life goals, to visit every state so that will be nice to check it off of the list. It will be cool because you be playing in front of the Dallas Cowboys in their stadium and then their fans will probably be around. Jerry Jones will probably be in the stands so if you can play a good game in front of him that’s pretty good. Maybe he’ll notice me or something like that. That’d be pretty cool.”
Question: Obviously it’s all business when you guys are out there but is there anything you want to see while you’re in Dallas?
Muse: “I always heard there’s a steak competition. Either the steak or I won’t be drinking that weekend but drinking out of the boot, I’d like to see that. They say, ‘Everything’s bigger in Texas’ so we’ll see if that’s really the case.”
Question: When you talk about impressing Jerry Jones and some of the guys out there, what’s you future like? I know this year you can obviously think about what’s next for you. What are you thinking right now?
Muse: “I’m just trying to take this game in. I know I’ve played pretty good up to this point. I think these next two games are really going to push me to where I need to go. I’m going to leave it up to God. He’s always got plans for me. I know in high school I was really thinking about playing baseball but injuries told me to go play football. I know it will all work out His way so I’m just going to leave it up to him.”