Bates says sour taste of Ohio St. loss led to C.H.I.P.
|Tuesday, August 3, 2021, 8:00 AM- -|
CLEMSON – Todd Bates and members of the Clemson defensive line walked off the field in New Orleans to close out last season with what Bates called a “sour taste” in their mouths after getting physically whipped by Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. Bates knows that if the Tigers want a better result this season, it starts with being more physical upfront.
Clemson players and coaches have talked about how the team went into spring practice with a more physical mindset, something that Bates knows starts upfront on the defensive line with his tackles and the defensive ends.
“It always starts up front. It's up front first and then inside out and our guys have taken that approach,” Bates said. “We had a sour taste in our mouth coming off that last game we played the season against Ohio State. And our guys, they've owned it and focused on getting more physical and reestablishing that defensive line, and that line of scrimmage. So that's been fun to watch and those guys are working their tails off.”
Bates said that the players were the ones who made the decision to be more physical at the point of attack.
“I think the players made a decision that, ‘Hey we're going to come out -- we got out-physicaled. So we're going to come out in the spring and be physical.’ And that charge also started with Coach Swinney driving that,” Bates said. “And those guys really went to work in the weight room. A lot of times when you get out-physicaled like that, that's where it starts. And so a lot of guys went to their individual part of that and just recommitted themselves to that weight room.”
The Clemson program isn’t used to getting pushed around, and the loss to the Buckeyes served up a not-so-special dessert.
“Humble pie is the best kind of pie. Sometimes you got to get that chip back on your shoulder. Regardless of who tells you you're great, you got to come hungry every day,” Bates said. “And then you got to come humble every day to go out and work hard. And we put that chip back on our shoulder and try to get game reps in practice. Being able to go out there and compete every day and sharpen each other. C.H.I.P. stands for Compete How I Practice, and it shouldn't be any different from the game to the practice field. That's what we had to get back to.”
Bates said he has no shortage of leaders along the defensive line.
“I've been really pleased with Tyler Davis. He's took it to another level. Bryan (Bresee) has also been a leader for us over the summer,” Bates said. “And then we've got defensive ends. You can reach in a hat and pick a name out of the defensive ends who have come in and had been leaders and bright spots in that. And just trying to take our group to the next level, putting in extra work, KJ Henry, Justin Foster, all those guys have done a great job.”