A key leader on Clemson’s defense this season, sophomore linebacker Barrett Carter, sat down with the media Monday ahead of what could be the most competitive rivalry game in recent years. South Carolina is coming off a shocking destruction over the No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers this past Saturday with a final score of 63-38.
Quarterback Spencer Rattler had by far his best game of the season, throwing for 438 yards and six touchdowns while completing over 80 percent of his passes. Everything just seemed to be hitting for the Gamecocks’ offense last Saturday.
“They looked explosive,” Carter said. “They have good backs, good receivers, experienced offensive line, so they just look like they were connecting on all levels.”
Despite this, the defense’s focus going into this week is no different than any other game, and their preparation has not changed.
“We treat it like it’s any other game,” Carter said. “Obviously they’re our rival, but it’s just the next game. We’re not going to make this game too big, and we’re not going to make the game smaller than it is.”
“I’m sure they’re feeling good after that win, so we’re just going to try to put that to an end,” Carter added with a laugh.
Clemson also has a chance to make history this Saturday, being the first team to win the Palmetto Bowl eight years in a row.
“Of course we’re trying to get the win by any means,” Carter said, “but the fact that we could make history means there is always a little bit more to it.”
A native of Suwanee, Georgia, Carter did not grow up knowing the intensity of the Clemson-Carolina rivalry game. However, after traveling down to Williams-Brice Stadium last year, Carter now knows just what this rivalry means to the people of South Carolina.
“When you get there and you’re going out for warmups and people are throwing stuff at you, you see a bunch of stuff in the facility, whole walls dedicated to the rivalry,” Carter said. “I didn’t really think it was that intense, but after last year, that really opened eyes and now I know that this is the real deal and it’s serious.”
In the game against Tennessee, Rattler looked very comfortable in the pocket. As a leader on the defense, Carter is focused on making sure that does not repeat this Saturday.
“I think really it was just better execution,” Carter said. “I think he looked very comfortable, so I think that is going to be an emphasis, just try to basically make it as stressful as possible as we can for him because when he is comfortable he is very dangerous.”