Just to reiterate what I said the other night…I’m really proud of our team for
accomplishing the second goal. We’ve worked all year long to try to achieve goals, and any
time you see a group of young people come together to accomplish something…it never
It’s hard when everybody is after the same thing, and only one’s going to get it. One team is
going to get the opportunity to represent the Atlantic [Division], and this team in particular
has really won me over. I knew, coming in, that this was going to be a different year and a
different type of team with so many new faces. But this team has been fun.
There have been a lot of challenges. You look at our schedule at the beginning of the year,
and you know you’re going to Louisville. It seems like, as you win those games and the
further on you go, nobody wants to give you credit for some of these wins. They want to
downplay that team.
But let me tell you, that game at Louisville was important. It’s GameDay, it’s all this stuff,
and Lamar Jackson is an unbelievable player. To see our guys respond and come home and
turn around and play a tough [Boston College] team, then go up to Virginia Tech, its been
Whatever situation this team has been in, we’ve somehow found a way to respond.
Obviously, we didn’t play that great up at Syracuse. They whipped us and outplayed us and
made a few more plays than we did, and we came up short. But our guys responded.
And that’s what I love to see, a group of young people, especially in this world where
there’s so much criticism and so much noise and so much over-analyzation of everything
and everybody’s life.
This is the fewest (scholarship) seniors (6) we’ve had since World War II. I’m really, really
proud of this team, regardless of what happens the rest of the way. This football team has
been fun to coach, and they have responded all year long, even coming off of a National
Championship and all that comes with that.
Knowing that you’re going to get every ounce of everybody’s best week in and week out,
they just put the work in. I just can’t overstate that enough. If the season ended right now,
today, I really am pleased with their effort. They’ve played hard.
We haven’t always played smart, and we haven’t always made every play that’s there, but
they have played with a tremendous effort, and they’ve played together all year long. This
is a team that I’m really going to have great memories of as we move forward.
It’s hard to believe that it’s the last game in the Valley. The season has flown by. You work
all year, and it seems like these seven Saturdays go by quicker every year. So I’m a little sad
about that, but I’m embracing where we are on the journey.
I’m excited about Military Appreciation Day, that’s always a special time here. I really don’t
think anybody does it better. We’ve got an old Vietnam veteran coming to speak to the
team this week, and I look forward to hearing what he’s got to say to our guys.
And obviously, it’s Senior Day. That’s always a little bit of an emotional time, because
there’s some finality to it. These guys dream about playing college football, and some of
them dream of playing at Clemson. You feel like you’re going to be here forever, and then
all of a sudden you get to be a senior, and you realize how quick it’s gone, and how fast life
It’s such a small moment in the scope of your life, it’s the blink of an eye. That’s what I try
to remind our coaches about all the time, we’ve got to exhaust every opportunity we get to
try to impact these players while we have a chance. They just come and go. It’s so fast.
I was talking to Jordan Leggett on the phone yesterday about it. It’s just hard to believe.
But, life keeps moving, and new faces will come. But I really just want to have a great day
I want to see these guys put an exclamation point on their career. These seniors are 26-1
at home. What a career they’ve had. There’s an old saying that says ‘prosperity is a terrible
teacher, but these old boys have had a lot of prosperity. But I think they have learned
through that. And that’s a credit to the people in our program.
But at 26-1, they’ve got a chance to set the all-time record. 27 wins [at home] would be the
most wins every for a senior group. So I’m excited about that, and obviously, the chance to
get a 10th win.
It’s a noon game, and I just really hope our crowd shows up and puts on a great show for
our military and for our seniors. It’s a great day to honor two awesome groups that, in
different ways, have been great servants. These seniors have served this program; they’ve
served their teammates and this community in so many ways, and I’m excited about
watching them play in the Valley for the last time on Saturday.
Coach Thompson has done a good job at The Citadel. They’re a 5-5 team right now, but
they’re a difficult team to prepare for. Obviously, they’re the triple option, and they have
their own nuances and personality that they bring to the table.
But they’re a challenge. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing. If they’re running the triple
option, they’re a challenge, because it’s not something that you do every week. We do have
good experience because we’ve played Georgia Tech, and hopefully that will help us a little
But they do throw it about 13 times a game, which is more than Georgia Tech. So they’re
kind of the ‘air-raid triple option,’ if you will, so that puts a little more strain on you. Brent
[Venables] and the boys hate these weeks, I promise you.
But we’ve got a very good plan. The biggest thing is that we have to get better. We have to
improve in every area. Our focus is Clemson this week, and just really trying to improve our
team. There are so many areas that we have to improve on in all three phases.
We just have to take care of business in the proper way, make the plays that are there,
clean up some things fundamentally and carry the focus and intensity throughout the
whole four quarters. I’m looking forward to closing out our home schedule by hopefully
playing our best game to this point.
Coach, Tanner Muse only played one snap on Saturday and obviously still has that
cast. What’s his status, and how important are the next couple of weeks for getting
your guys healthy, especially on the defensive side?
It’s critical. Hopefully we can get those guys all back on board and ready to go for a
championship run. That’s really what it comes down to. Tanner is going to be a lot better
this week. In the Florida State game, we got up 17-0 and knew they were probably going to
throw it a little bit more, so we didn’t play him quite as much. We went with some more
cover-to-cover guys, and it helps to have two hands in the game.
He’s going to be in a lot better of a position this week. They’ve got him in a whole new deal.
They were able to cut it down, and he’s going to have a lot more mobility, flexibility and
range of motion. I think that’s going to help him, and other than that, he’s good to go. We
just need to get him where he can have more range of motion in his hand.
But it’s important. We’re going to try to get everybody as healthy as we can for this home
stretch, and the fortunate thing is that we have played a lot of guys over the course of this
year. We’ve got some guys that have gotten some good, quality experience, and we’re going
to need that down the stretch.
We don’t plan to play Dexter Lawrence this week. We would like to see him get healthy
with another week of rest and get ready for the championship drive.