Elliott expects Williams-Brice to be loud and rowdy
|Tuesday, November 21, 2017, 4:53 PM- -|
CLEMSON – Tony Elliott expects Williams-Brice Stadium to have a loud and raucous environment Saturday night, but he also believes it’s nothing his offense hasn’t seen before.
No. 2 Clemson and South Carolina tangle in their annual rivalry game Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., and while the game is sure to be filled with emotion, the Tigers have experienced big road games already this season.
"I think as a coach that's always in the back of your mind, but our guys have proven time after time, they've had some really big games,” Elliott said. “You look back to Louisville, that's one of the biggest games that they were going to play in Louisville history. Then you turn around and you go to Virginia Tech, so there's a lot of emotion. So, our guys have had a lot of experience, they've been in the situation, but we also understand it's a tough place to play. It's a great environment and we're appreciative of the opportunities that we've had to go on the road, but we also know that this is going to be a loud, hostile environment. “We've got to make sure that our guys have the right focus and attention to detail in practice, so we don't peak too early in the week and are ready to go at seven thirty.
"I think it's probably going to be the loudest of all the places. I think up there at Virginia Tech would be very similar. Obviously, there was a lot of emotion. They can get rowdy, they can get loud and I think, coming out early, our guys have got to be mentally tough because the fans are going to be right on top of you and they're not going to make it easy on you."
Elliott sees a better Gamecock defense than the one the Tigers faced last season.
"Much improved from last year. You can see that their much more comfortable in the system, a lot more depth on the defensive line,” he said. “You can see that they're playing some young guys and they've got some more size inside than what you saw last year. Skai Moore's back and you can see that he's playing at a high level, making a lot of plays on the ball. Also, they've got Jamyest at nickel-SAM and he’s pretty disruptive. Then they're playing with a lot of swagger, a lot of confidence, playing with a lot more effort than what you saw last year.
"I think they are able to do some things, they can jump in and out of structure. They can play four-down. They can play a little more odd from their base personnel. They can move guys around. They can put guys in different positions. They can play matchups with you. So, you can see that they're a lot more comfortable. Then on the defensive line, because of that size, they can push the pocket and then they can also stop the run with just four."
Elliott also knows that records don’t matter when it comes to the rivalry.
"I think records are thrown out in this one, because of the rivalry we know it's going to be a four-quarter game,” he said. “We've got to put together our best four quarters, especially playing in their environment--they're going to be fired up. And obviously, they've been looking forward to this one, just like we've been looking forward to this one--this is a season in itself. Obviously, you have the regular-season, you want to clinch the division, and then you flip the page and it's all about South Carolina.
"We know how much this means to our fan base, to our university, to our administration, to everybody associated with Clemson and we want to make sure that we give them an opportunity to feel good after this game."