DALLAS — Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the rest of the Tigers are in Dallas as they get set to play Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff at the Cotton Bowl this Saturday in nearby Arlington.
Clemson is four quarters away from playing in the national championship game for the third time in four seasons.
Question: Is it going to feel surreal when you first step on the field in “Jerry World?”
Lawrence: “It’s awesome and it’s definitely exciting,” he said. “I know it’s a crazy stadium, it will be an awesome experience.”
Question: How do you react in pressure situations?
Lawrence: “I try to keep a level head and not let anything get too big,” he said. “I celebrate with my teammates and have fun not letting it get too big or too small.”
Question: Does it feel like a small burden is already off your shoulders making the Playoff?
Lawrence: “I wouldn’t say a burden but it’s another goal accomplished. It’s awesome, we have a list of goals,” he said. “Most of them are past and we only have a few left as a team.”
Question: Is there added pressure on your end with a chance to play in the title game?
Lawrence: “I mean we treat it like any other game, but it is the semifinal and if you win you play in the national championship,” he said. “You can’t get there unless you win the semifinal game.”
“We’re taking it one game at a time. Our coaches and everybody here keep us focused.”
Question: Are you excited to have big game?
Lawrence: “Definitely. We have played in some big games already and we are prepared for a close game if we have to, played in a couple of those this year too.”
Question: Take us back on your journey over the last year.
Lawrence: “It’s flown by, but it feels like I’ve been here for a long time,” he said. “It’s been an awesome experience, with a lot of trials already this year but I’ve got a ways to go.”
Question: Seeing the Clemson-Alabama games in the last few years, was that a goal for you?
Lawrence: “You want to play in a program that competes for championships,” he said. “That wasn’t the only thing that determined where I went but it was certainly high on my list.”
“A place like here does that. I was at the Army game last year watching us play Alabama and it was cool to see them there but I envisioned being out there.”
Question: Did you envision being the guy this quickly in the CFP?
Lawrence: “I believed that I could be in the situation, but it didn’t play out exactly how I thought it would,” he said. “I believe I could do this and it’s something I worked hard for.”
Question: Are you prepared for all the pressure in that moment when you walk out?
Lawrence: “The way you take pressure off of a moment is by preparing beforehand. We have done that and will continue to do that before we play but that’s how you lessen that pressure of a moment,” he said. “We do a great job of that here.”
Question: How have you grown the most so far?
Lawrence: “I’ve just gotten more mature overall, in every category from leadership to how I play,” he said. “I’m smarter and I take care of the ball, but I’d say maybe leadership.”
Question: Is there a moment you could point back to that epitomized that?
Lawrence: “Probably not a specific moment but being here since January and growing into everybody’s respect and trust,” he said. “Getting closer with the team has really helped me step into some big shoes.”