Clemson defensive end Austin Bryant spoke to the media during media day in Clemson Wednesday as the Tigers get set to play Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Jan. 7.
Question: Is it important to weather the storm early on against Alabama? Teams they’ve placed this year, they’re being outscored 45-25 in the first quarter. Alabama just jumps on you… and do what they do for the rest of the game. Is that a point of emphasis for you guys to weather the storm?
Bryant: No, we never plan on weathering anyone’s storm. We want to come out and attack and set the tempo so no, that’s definitely not our plan to weather the storm.
Question: Four straight Alabama-Clemson matchups in the College Football Playoff. Does it kind of feel like a rivalry at this point?
Bryant: “Yeah, a little bit it does. It seems we’re playing them every year. It’s becoming a saga I guess, kind of like “Rocky,” so yeah I guess you could consider it a developing rivalry.”
Question: What do you think about the first three? Is there a specific play or anything that comes to your mind when you kind of think about these matchups over the last few years?
Bryant: “ Of course the first game in 2015, all of the crazy stuff that happened in that game. The kickoff, the kick return. Then the game in 2016, they go down and score at the end of the game but our offense comes back and puts together a hell of a drive to win the game. Last year they dominated us…just very grateful to have the opportunity this year to write that next part of the story.”
Question: What do you take from the first couple of years personally? Is there anything you can take away or is it like you starting from scratch.
Bryant: “Oh I’m starting from scratch every year. You never want to assume anything because each year, each team is different no matter if it’s us or them so you never want to assume that you know everything because you have to start over from scratch and kind of rebuild to be the best in that moment that you can be.”
Question: How ready is Albert (Huggins) for this moment?
Bryant: “Oh, he’s ready. All of the guys are ready. They all put the same work in all season. They prepare just as well as Dex (Dexter Lawrence) and the rest of us. I have full confidence in Albert, Jordan (Williams), Nyles (Pickney)… I hate it (playing without Lawrence) but those guys are ready to play well.”