Freeman says Tigers haven't earned anything yet

by - Senior Writer -
Dalton Freeman: 'We are still a 6-7 football team, until the end of the year.

CLEMSON – Don’t tell Clemson center Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#55 6-5, 285
Pelion, SC

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that Clemson is 4-0 and nationally-ranked. He doesn’t want to hear it.

In fact, he says, he knows that the history of Clemson’s season has yet to be written, and while the Tigers’ new lofty rankings are nice to look at, he is making sure as a team leader that none of his teammates believe that they have arrived.

“It’s [4-0 start and rankings] in the back of our minds, but right now we are just focused on getting better, Freeman said Tuesday. “We are still a 6-7 football team, until the end of the year. The rankings don’t mean anything until the end of the year. We have to stay humble. If you go back and look at the film, there were so many mistakes that we made. We had a chance to score 50 or 60 points and we just made silly mistakes that we shouldn’t be making.

“We have to continue to get better and we have gotten better every week. We are still searching for that complete game. When we play a complete game, we are going to overwhelm people. When our defense is doing everything right and our offense is clicking on all cylinders, it is going to be a lot of fun to watch. We are nowhere close to that now, so we have to continue to get better.”

Freeman said he hopes to see even more improvement this week, despite the fact that the Tigers are playing in Lane Stadium in Blacksburg and not in the friendly environs of Death Valley.

“It’s a great environment. I expect it to be like Florida State or Death Valley or any of these loud places that we’ve been to,” he said. “We just have to prepare for it throughout the week with crowd noise. It’s something that we are going to have to prepare for. Obviously it is something that can cause some confusion and headaches, but it shouldn’t be that big of deal with the style of no-huddle offense that we run.

“They just have to run up and tell me what we are going to do then I communicate it to our guys. I don’t see it being a problem. We just have to continue to get better. As far as our preparation, we have done a better job. We have done a good job of coming in here every week and doing more than what they ask of us. If we continue doing that again this week, I think we will be prepared and play well.”

A week ago, the Tigers faced a Florida St. defense that was ranked fifth in the nation; this week, it’s the nation’s fourth best defense, and Freeman said it was hard to compare the two opponents.

“It’s hard to say. They are very different,” Freeman said. “They are both very athletic. Virginia Tech brings a little bit more blitzes. Coach [defensive coordinator Bud] Foster is crazy. He isn’t very gap sound in what he does, but they end up being gap sound. It’s hard to pick it up and figure it out. They do what they do and we have to prepare for it.”

If the Tigers are to make a major statement on the road, quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS So. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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will have to continue to show the growth he has during the season’s opening four-game stretch.

Freeman thinks that can happen.

“I think Tajh is competitive. I think he is going to thrive in this environment,” Freeman said. “I am very thankful that we’ve had four home games to get him settled down. He has gotten better every week and I think he will handle this well. Our coaches will do a great job of putting us in crowd noise and in tough situations where we can’t hear this week. We will have a little bit of everything. It’s not like the real thing. I think he will be fine.”

Plus, the Tigers have a few players who score from anywhere on the field.

“Football is a chess match. Our coaches do a great job of preparing us for our opponents and what they do. Other coaches do a great job of preparing for what we do. Ultimately, it comes down to playmakers making plays. We’ve been blessed so far. That is what is so fun about this offense and the guys that we have. Anytime they touch the ball, they have the chance at a homerun and it makes you want to do your job that much better.”

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