Clemson defensive end K.J. Henry says the top-ranked Tigers have a lot of respect for Virginia, who will visit Death Valley tonight for an eight o’clock kickoff on the ACC Network. Last year, the Cavaliers converted 10-of-18 third downs and had nearly 400 yards.
Henry knows the defense can’t have a repeat performance tonight if they want to win.
Henry on Virginia’s big offensive line
“It’s the same offensive line, for the most part, that we played last year so the guys who were part of the ACC Championship, we have a good feel for them. Obviously, a great unit and experience to come back with all of them returning so, like I said, the respect is there for sure. They got the job done this past weekend, so you’ve got two undefeated teams trying to catch a win. Being able to play them last year will give us a good feel to see some film and stuff of what we did good, what we did bad, and what we can improve on this week. It’ll be a fun challenge.”
Henry on what he remembers from the 2019 ACC Championship Game
“There’s a lot of guys who can make plays. That first drive, they took us all the way down the field and that’s the best eleven we’ve got out there. So, they can get the job done for sure. We have to win this week. We have to win the day first off and in preparation, but they definitely have the tools and the capability to be successful and get the job done so it’s going to be a big task we have this week. The score could have said one thing last year, but being a player in the game, they definitely put up a really good fight and it was a tough team schematically to get ready for, so we’ll have the same task to get ready for this week and some different weapons that they brought to the team this year. It was a challenge. We’re not stuck on the score, obviously. It was a great game last year, but we know what they can actually bring to the table for sure.”
Henry on what he learned from last week’s upsets in college football
“The biggest lesson, probably, is that anybody can beat you. I think that’s very much forgotten a lot in today’s world. Especially with so much media attention to big name schools and stuff, but at the end of the day, the other team has scholarship players too — guys who are hungry to be great, prove a point, and make it to the next level. You have to come out every week and prove it, not just one week. As Coach Swinney says a lot, the game’s not won on paper. You have to go out there and play. I think that’s the biggest lesson and that’s why we’re just focused on Virginia, right? Because they can beat us, so we have to be prepared to play our best football of the year on Saturday.”
Henry on how the ACC has improved
“I was just saying, this building, we’ve always known that the competition’s been great in this league. I think it’s just finally getting attention maybe because some leagues are out right now, but we’ve never for a doubt in our minds thought down on our opponents in this league. It’s fortunate that they’ll finally get the recognition that they deserve, but I can say in this building, the respect is given. In this league, we have to compete every week and we’ve been on that. It’s always we have to play the best that we can play, and hopefully that’ll come out as a win. But at the same time, the respect that’s given on the ACC is different from a media standpoint and how we see it as Clemson Tigers, because we know what this league can bring and been very successful in the last couple years so it’s good that there’s some good football being played and we love a challenge for sure.”