|Georgia on their Minds|
|by David Hood - Senior Writer - Sunday, August 4, 2013 11:36 PM||
A season opener against schools from the FCS or non-BCS conferences can lead to a long and boring August camp for many college football players and fans.
Open against a team ranked in the top five in the nation, a team from the SEC that is also a geographic rival creates a sense of urgency, according to Clemson defensive tackle Josh WatsonJosh Watson
RS Jr. Defensive Tackle
#91 6-4, 285
View Full Profile.
Clemson, ranked No. 8 in the preseason USATODAY Coaches poll, will open the season against No. 5 Georgia on Aug. 31st in Clemson’s Death Valley. It will be the site of ESPN’s GameDay, and while there are plenty of other big games on the docket that weekend, there is no doubt where the biggest game will be played.
“It is the biggest game in the country,” Watson said Friday. “It is going to be really exciting. Just think about a home game that is that exciting. This might be the most exciting home game I’ve ever been around or been a part of. You can’t really beat it. Night time. Hopefully it will be a different result than our last couple of night games. We are definitely excited about Georgia.”
Clemson will open the season against a ranked opponent for the first time since 2008, and the Bulldogs will be the highest-ranked team that Clemson has hosted since 2003, when the Tigers hosted then-No. 3 Florida St.
Watson told the media that he could give the answer about the opener that the coaches want to hear, or he could tell the truth.
He opted for the truth.
“I could give you the political answer and say, ‘No, we should all shoot for the opener. Everybody wants to win the opener. That’s our first goal,’” Watson said, “but you can’t really ignore what’s going on in the public. We see it. As much as the coaches try to shelter us from it, we see the blogs, we see the hype around the games. It creates a sense of urgency.”
Watson then said that the Tigers aren’t using the cliché of putting all their eggs in one basket.
“We also understand that if we win or lose that game, it isn’t the end of the season,” Watson said. “We still have to go on to the next game, and then there are 11 more games.”
Safety Travis BlanksTravis Blanks
So. Defensive Back
#11 6-0, 190
View Full Profile said that while the players understand the magnitude of the first game, they can’t let the hype interfere with their preparation during camp’s critical first weeks.
“It’s all about being humble,” Blanks said Friday. “We have to have a humble spirit on this team, because all the national talk means nothing if we go out there and lay an egg in the first game. Me personally, I stay out of the media. I really don’t care what people say I can be or can’t be. That’s going to be vital to our success, how humble we can remain so that we can get better.”
Clemson coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
View Full Profile said that his team has to focus on opponents this season the same way they did last season, and to realize that the next game on the schedule is the most important.
In other words, don’t overlook anybody and don’t let your season come down to one game.
“When you start really focusing on the names of the opponents, then you play up here one week and you play down here another week,” Swinney said, holding his hand above his head before letting it fall close to his waist.
“Every opponent has our ultimate respect,” Swinney added, “because anybody can beat anybody on any given day. What we really try to focus on is ourselves. That’s what we can control. We control our preparation, our work ethic, our commitment, our attention to details. If we can just be committed to a standard of trying to be the best that we can be, then you can live with the results on gameday, regardless of who you play or when you play.”
Quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Sr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
View Full Profile said the Tigers will prepare with confidence, and let that confidence take over in a little under four weeks when the bright lights turn on.
“There’s not really any added pressure when you’re prepared and when you’re confident,” Boyd said. “For us, that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to prepare as much as possible so we’re confident when we go out on that field. I know pressure is one of those things that you put on yourself, so we’re not trying to do anything to enhance that. It’s going to be an unbelievable feeling when this game is played on Aug. 31.”
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