Defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney talked with the media after Clemson’s first day of fall camp on Friday. The senior was excited for what’s to come this season for him and the rest of the defense.
Pinckney came into camp after missing the spring while recovering from a pectoral muscle injury. However, he used his time on the sidelines to study up on the game and step into his new leadership role on defense.
Pinckney on missing all of spring practice
“It just helped me fill a leadership role and I was able to coach. If you’re able to coach, that makes you better as a player and when you get on the field, you know what you’re doing, so you just add the technique and everything else. I feel like that helped me as a leader, being able to help the guys and letting them know that I know what’s going on even though I’m not practicing, so even when they’re not in on a play, they’re still paying attention.”
Pinckney on stepping into a leadership role
“We had great leaders in Dex [Lawrence] and Christian [Wilkins] and we know what it looks like to be great, so we are kind of following in their footsteps, but also be ourselves. It’s just doing our own thing and looking at what those guys did good and then adding our own little style. It’s all about putting in the extra work and never having a bad day and if you’re having a bad day, then just being able to bounce back the next practice and being positive.”
Pinckney on keys to building team chemistry
“Communication outside of football is important. Sometimes after dinner or lunch we will sit there and get to know our teammates besides football. Especially the freshman because a lot of them just got here in the summer and to get to know them as people, not just football players because at the same time these are going to be friends for years down the road that we will have and hopefully when we go for another national championship, we can talk about that.”
Pinckney on handling the hype around the team and last season’s defense
“After watching them, they took it very well. They did the magazine covers, but at the same time they knew they still had to work. They don’t just give you a national championship trophy or an ACC trophy, so they knew how to work and push themselves.”
Pinckney on the new freshmen
“I feel like there’s been a lot of maturity. I know when they first got here, they looked like a deer in the headlights a lot, but as time went on, they started to pick up technique and everything like that. Over the summer, there has been a big growth jump in strength and conditioning. I feel some of the guys stepped up when it was a tough day and they picked each other up and stayed on top of it without me pushing them.”