|Crawford thinks Tigers are "national champion contenders"|
|by David Hood - Senior Writer - Sunday, August 18, 2013 11:05 AM||
CLEMSON – As the media filed out of the tunnel at Death Valley Saturday afternoon, one of my colleagues asked me if there was something “going on with this team” or “something different about this group.”
The answer is yes.
This team is confident without being cocky, and these players still feel like they have a chip on their shoulders. Their interviews convey it.
Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
View Full Profile’s team hasn’t played a down of football yet this season in a situation that counts, and the next three months will tell us all we need to know about what kind of team this can be.
In fact, in just two weeks, we will know a lot more about this team than we do now, once the season opener with the Georgia Bulldogs has been completed. The latest Associated Press poll came out Saturday, and Clemson is ranked 8th nationally, while the Bulldogs sit firmly at No. 5 nationally.
Junior defensive end Corey CrawfordCorey Crawford
Jr. Defensive End
#93 6-5, 270
View Full Profile has by all accounts had a dominating spring - including a scrimmage early last week in which Swinney said Crawford was “unblockable.” Crawford is just another in a line of players that think this program still doesn’t have the respect they think it deserves, even after that lofty ranking and a win over LSU in the bowl game.
Crawford thinks this is the year the Tigers put it all together and earn that respect the only way it can be earned – between the white lines and on the scoreboard.
“This year we’re going to show everybody that we are national champion contenders,” Crawford said. “I think we should be getting the respect that we need and the respect for myself. I really don’t know if other teams respect me. This year is going to be the year to get that respect.”
The Carver (GA) standout knows that the first step in that process begins in two weeks under the Memorial Stadium lights, and even under the more intense glare of the bright lights of a national television audience, an audience that has been conditioned to think the players from the SEC are supermen.
The Bulldogs are also from Crawford’s home state, and that provides even more motivation.
“I really can’t wait for this first game,” Crawford said. “I’m really excited about it. It makes me more focused to see what (Georgia) is doing. When it’s my time and there’s a play our defense needs to stop, it makes me focused in more on those plays.”
Author Jon Gordon – who penned “The Energy Bus” – was in Clemson to speak with the team a few weeks ago, and he has asked the players to each pick a word that they would use to describe themselves and could help them reach their goals.
Crawford picked the word “respect.”
“I picked respect because I feel like as a team, we don’t have the respect that Clemson needs,” he said. “We are a good ballclub in nature, and people don’t realize that.”
However, he thinks they will earn that respect this season.
“When everybody sits down to watch Clemson, they’ll see that Clemson is ready to play. They’re ready,” Crawford said.
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