Inside Boston College: Etienne's name explained, Hokies haven't been tested
|Monday, September 25, 2017, 7:56 AM- -|
Who’s ready for a trip up the mountain? Me, that’s who.
The second-ranked Tigers dispatched Boston College 34-7 Saturday afternoon, and as we stood in the steamy postgame interview area, sweat dripping everywhere, I closed my eyes and wished on the scoreboard for cooler temps.
We had gorgeous weather for the first two home games, and I knew we would pay for that somewhere down the road. It was hot in Louisville last weekend, and the highs Saturday were in the upper 80’s. As Nikki and I walked back to the press box from the sidelines, we had to make way for an older gentleman who was being taken out on a stretcher.
It was a heat-related issue – I hope he’s doing ok – but it was an omen of sorts as Boston College turned up the defensive heat on Kelly Bryant and the Clemson offense.
The weather apps all tell me we have another few hot days in the Clemson area this week – back in the low 90’s – but the rough dog days of summer will eventually give way to more fall-like temps. That includes this weekend in Blacksburg, where it could be in the 50’s by game time and maybe in the high 40’s by the end of the contest.
I’ll take that every day.
*It’s amazing how watching the game on television – being able to go home and watch it on the DVR with fast-forward and rewind capabilities – can change your outlook on what you thought you saw live. In the box, we don’t have the luxury of watching the game. There are televisions, but in the Clemson press box you have to make a choice – watch the game live or crane your neck into an uncomfortable position and watch the 10 second or more delay.
Watching it live, I was sure the Clemson offensive line struggled. But after going back and watching it, they performed a whole lot better than I first thought. The Eagles brought pressure from all angles – more defenders than Clemson had linemen to block – and played a zone in the secondary. That’s reminiscent of what teams did to Deshaun Watson and the Tigers all last season.
Watson, of course, was experienced enough to read the defense and change plays. It will take Bryant time to get to that level, and you can bet that Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster will have a similar game plan in place next Saturday.
*Freshman running back Travis Etienne is a delight to interview. Not as much as it is watching him play, but he’s great to talk to. I asked him about the “TNT” nickname I’ve seen in a few places, and he immediately made sure to include veterans C.J. Fuller and Adam Choice. That’s a veteran move for the freshman.
As for his name – pronounced E T N – I got a few answers from a family member Saturday. I’ve had several people from that area email me about the pronunciation, and most people say it like “et tee en.” A few have also mentioned they’ve heard “a t n.” As Nikki and I were walking back to the press box from the field, we ran into a few members of the Etienne family. They seem to be a close-knit group, and I asked about the name.
I was told that a member of the family had a falling out with another family member – before their time – and decided to change the pronunciation so he wouldn’t be identified with the other person.
As Paul Harvey would say, now you know...…the rest of the story.
Speaking of the freshman, is that a set of wheels or what? I had one player tell me that Etienne is similar to the other running backs on the roster, with one major difference. “Same car. Different tires,” I was told.
I get that.
*There were times Saturday when the crowd wasn’t into the game, but that had more to do with the unease settling into the stadium than any lack of excitement. Considering it was Boston College, and that it was hot, it was a fantastic crowd. During postgame interviews, defensive coordinator Brent Venables mentioned the crowd two or three times.
*It’s never easy to predict college football games, and this Saturday will be no different. But if there’s one big difference between the two teams, it’s the early-season schedule. Clemson has spent the early part of the season being tested – there was the game against Auburn that wasn’t decided until the fourth quarter, the road trip into a hostile environment at Louisville that wasn’t decided until the second half, and Saturday’s ACC game against a Boston College team that gave the Tigers their best shot.
Tech opened the season on a neutral field (with thousands of Hokies in attendance) in a win over West Virginia, played Delaware at home, traveled to and beat a bad East Carolina team, and returned home to face Old Dominion. They’ve won the last three games by a combined score of 129-17.
One team has been through the proverbial ringer the last three weeks, and the other has played the proverbial cupcake schedule. That alone might be the difference if the game is close.