Saturday’s College Football Playoff semifinal against the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will be arguably one of Clemson’s toughest opponents they’ve faced so far this season, but veteran offensive lineman John Simpson says the Tigers are more than ready for the challenge.
With players like Heisman Trophy finalist Justin Fields and talented running back J.K. Dobbins on offense and with All-American Chase Young on the other side of the ball, the Tigers have quite the test ahead, but also the opportunity to prove critics like ESPN’s David Pollack wrong.
“He’s a dog man,” Simpson said when talking about Ohio State’s Chase Young. “He’s got really good get-off, he’s a physical player, and works really hard to get to that quarterback. I’m excited to play him.”
The senior continued that the caliber of talent that his team, the o-line in particular, faces on a daily basis is what prepares them for big games like Saturday night’s Fiesta bowl. Having experience practicing against eventual NFL first rounders like Clelin Ferrell in past seasons and now against other probable future first-rounders, the Clemson offense is a seasoned bunch, despite the media implying otherwise.
“I mean going against guys like Isaiah [Simmons] in practice, Isaiah gets us prepared, having Xavier Thomas and guys like that, and even our younger defensive ends are filled with talent,” Simpson said.
The message is clear heading into Saturday’s game, the Tigers mean business, and this isn’t Simpson’s first time in this position, in fact, he’s a seasoned veteran when it comes to post-season play, making a trip to the playoffs all of his four years as a Tiger. Because of this, Simpson has been passing on his wisdom to the younger guys with the message that the fun comes in the winning later and for now, it’s time to get to work.
“Just letting those guys know that we are going to play a game, we are not going there to have fun,” Simpson said. “We are gonna play a game and the fun is in the winning, so when we win, then we can have as much fun as we want to. Just focus on our task and we should come out victorious.”