Chavis says Clemson-USC better than "wine and cheese" in NC

by - Senior Writer -
Chavis is getting treatment on his foot four times a day so he can be ready for the South Carolina game.

AUDIO: Miguel Chavis (MP3 Format)

CLEMSON – Clemson-South Carolina week got off to a rousing start in the WestZone early Monday afternoon, with Tiger players and coaches each recounting some of their memories of the rivalry.

Wide receivers coach Jeff Scott recounted how in 1998, when his dad [Brad Scott] was still the head coach of the Gamecocks, the family woke up the morning of the game to find two huge tiger paws painted on their driveway. Jeff went out that morning and saw the paws, along with a note signed by the perpetrators – a Clemson fraternity.

Defensive ends coach Chris Rumph, who played and coached at South Carolina, said he still has friends on the Carolina coaching staff, and he wants to beat them just as bad as they want to beat him on Saturday.

But defensive tackle Miguel Chavis, who has missed three of the past four games with an injury but hopes to play this Saturday, had his own special take on the rivalry.

Chavis grew up in North Carolina, and he said on Monday that he had no clue what the game meant to the people of South Carolina until his freshman year.

“My freshman year, we were riding the bus into Columbia, and the fans were mouthing things at us,” Chavis said. “They were saying things my momma wouldn’t want me to say, and nobody really should be saying, honestly. There are special moments as a Clemson player – like running down The Hill – but you really don’t understand this rivalry until you play in the Clemson-Carolina game.”

Chavis said that the football rivalries in his home state don’t even compare to the one in South Carolina.

“No offense to UNC and N.C. State at all, which is kind of the rivalry in North Carolina,” Chavis said. “That was our quote-unquote rivalry up there, and you had Duke-North Carolina in basketball. Not to say that was a wine-and-cheese party compared to what this is, but I guess you could say that.

“The state championship is one of our final goals. We have a couple that are not on the table anymore, but everybody knows this is the signature game year in and year out in our state. I am going to say on record it is that kind of game. This is our seniors’ last home game, and their seniors’ last [regular season]. This is a great rivalry, so Saturday is going to be special.”

He has been sidelined with an injury to the arch on his foot, and said he is going to do everything in his power to play. The Boston College game at the end of the October was the first game he has missed in his college career.

“All my intentions and possibilities are to try and play this week,” he said. “The training staff has been doing a great job with me, and I am busting it to get back as soon as possible. I started out the season on a positive note, and then I got the injury. Anybody that loves to play football would not be happy. I get treatment on it four times a day so I can be ready. I am going to go to bed thinking about South Carolina, and I am going to wake up thinking about South Carolina.”

Chavis said he will take his time coming down The Hill, in order to savor every moment, and that he can't believe this moment has finally arrived.

“I know the first time I ran down, we were playing FSU and they were ranked and we beat them,” he said. “The seniors always say to make sure you stay away from the freshmen [at the top of the hill] because it might be a little wet around them. But that first time was as a part of the Clemson team, and I think it’s appropriate to come down that last time by yourself, to say ‘This is my legacy and this is what I accomplished.

“I tell these younger guys, and these freshmen, to appreciate the time you have here. To be humble and love everybody and work your butt off because that four years will go by in the blink of an eye. This Saturday at 7 p.m. I am going to walk down and make each step count. It is going to be amazing, because it’s great to be a Clemson Tiger.”

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