Clemson opponents discuss the Tigers

by - Senior Writer -
Roddy Jones says C.J. Spiller's performance in the ACC Championship Game was awe-inspiring.

GREENSBORO, NC – There are times when the best way to understand yourself is to see how others perceive you.

With that thought in mind, TigerNet went to the ACC Kickoff Meetings in Greensboro and asked several of Clemson’s opponents to talk about their thoughts on the Tigers, Death Valley and Clemson in general, and some of the answers are downright enlightening as well as entertaining.

However, it was also interesting to see most conversations about Clemson turn to one C.J. Spiller, even though he has graduated.

RB JOSH ADAMS, Wake Forest – “The Clemson game, it’s always been competitive except for last season. They are a very talented team, and they have a great fan base, with 80,000 fans packing their stadium. And you know if don’t prepare well, you are probably not going to win. It’s always a battle against those guys. “

C RUSSELL NENON, Wake Forest - “Based on my last four years, you always know that Clemson and FSU are going to be very athletic and very skilled and they are going to highly-touted. I have had a very bad experience in Death Valley – the last two times we’ve been down there I’ve been beat like 78-6 combined [actually 82-13] so I have a sour taste in my mouth about Clemson. But they have guys like Da’Quan Bowers, C.J. Spiller and DeAndre McDaniel – those are the types of guys you see play on Sundays. They are a great team week in and week out. I grew up watching a team like that – athletically they remind of the old FSU teams. It is an honor getting to play in Death Valley, though, and playing a team like Clemson. I really enjoy it.”

K MATT BOSHER, Miami - “Clemson is always a big game and always a tight game. That type of pressure game is good for the team and I like that kind of game myself. We will definitely be ready to go and play in that game, because that is a great atmosphere to go into. I have talked to some of the guys that played in the game the last time we played up there, and they said the atmosphere was incredible. I am really looking forward to that game. “

DE ALLEN BAILEY, Miami - “I’ve been to Death Valley, but never for a game. I’ve been there for a spring game, and it wasn’t packed but it was still pretty loud. I am definitely anticipating going into Death Valley and hearing the crowd and hearing that echo. We owe them – last year was a really tough loss and they won it late. It is going to be a really intense game.”

DE ROBERT QUIN, UNC - “At Clemson, I had one former teammate in Durrell Barry, a tight end, that graduated last year, and there is Byron Maxwell who is a star corner for them. I know those guys really well. And then Andre Ellington played at a high school we played a lot, and so did Da’Quan Bowers. So we’ve all played together and against each other, and there has been some chit-chat and some shout-outs about it, but really all you can do right now is smile and just wait until the game is here. I am really looking forward to it.”

LB NATE IRVING, N.C. State - “I am looking forward to going back down there and playing in Clemson again. The last time we went down there, the outcome was not so good. This time, we are looking forward to going down there and getting a different ending to the same story. But the Clemson crowd is so loud; I would like to go in there and hear total silence, or hear the N.C. State chant in Death Valley. They have the loudest fans, so if I hear total silence that will be big for me.”

DE JASON PETERS, Georgia Tech - “Clemson is a great team, first and foremost, and they have great players who are always ready to play. This has definitely turned into a rivalry – we saw each other a couple of times last year and we know they are going to be hungry to get back at us. But they are just one of the things that are in our way if we are to get back to the ACC Championship Game. I am looking forward to going into Death Valley, just because it is a great atmosphere and the fans are always loud. It is just one of those places that you look around and say, ‘Wow, this is big-time, this is what D-1 football is all about.’ You see them running down the hill, and you are like ‘alright, it’s time to go, it’s time to play.’ Anytime you play Clemson, you know it is going to be a war, and that always makes it special. They have some great guys returning, and they have speed, and they have power.”

RB RODDY JONES, Georgia Tech - “This is definitely a rivalry, especially playing two great games like we did last year. We know the Clemson game is a game that means a lot to the ACC race. Clemson puts a great product out on the field every year. It is definitely going to be fun going into Memorial Stadium and Death Valley and playing this year. For me personally, I will be looking forward to it because I almost went to Clemson. But we know this game is going to mean a lot. Last year, the ACC Championship Game was an amazing game. It is not like we were hitting a lot of big plays, we were just having to grind it out. Every drive, I bet we had three or four third down plays. We had confidence we could put the ball into the end zone, but the way C.J. Spiller was running, we knew it was a coin flip on who was going to win. I was standing next to Demaryius Thomas most of the game, and we were watching C.J., and we were like ‘wow.’ We just kind of stood back and took it all in, even though he was the opponent and we wanted to beat him, it was just awesome to see him run and be a part of a performance like that. It was cool to be a part of it.”

DE EVERETT DAWKINS, FSU - “I love playing against Clemson, because I am from close to there. Growing up, I always thought I would go to Clemson. My cousin, Stanley Hunter went to Clemson, and so did a lot of my high school teammates like Willy Korn, Xavier Dye and Chad Diehl. They were always my favorite growing up, and then the offer from them never came and I kind of fell out of place with them. So that is a big game for me. That atmosphere at Clemson last year was just crazy, but it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played. We lost the game, but it was close and I feel like we should have won. I remember C.J. Spiller, too, and man, was he fast. One play, I came through scot free, and he was maybe a yard or so away. He was so close to me, and I took one step to catch him, and by the time I took that one step he was already in the end zone. I was like ‘what is going on.’ “

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