CLEMSON, SC -- Keith Adams has one goal in mind for he and his Clemson teammates in the year 2000: Complete domination.
Domination of opposing offenses. Domination of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Domination of the entire college football world.
"I want to go out there and try to dominate each and every game. I want to really just try to dominate the offenses that we play," Adams said after participating in the 300-yard shuttle and 12-minute run administered to CU veterans Thursday morning. "All the guys have really bought into the system, and we've worked harder than we've ever worked this summer. We feel very comfortable going into this year."
The same cannot be said for offenses Adams will face during the upcoming season.
In 1999, his first year as a starter at weakside linebacker, Adams was to Tiger opponents what Godzilla was to Tokyo. The 5-foot-11, 220-pound dynamo led the nation with an astounding 186 total tackles - a Clemson single-season record - and 35 tackles for loss. Those statistics propelled the College Park, Ga. native to become the first Tiger in history to earn first-team All-America honors as a sophomore.
What could Adams possibly do for an encore?
"I don't know if anybody can duplicate what he did (last year)," said CU Defensive Coordinator Reggie Herring. "That's the biggest question. Can he put together back-to-back great years? But even if he doesn't reach the numbers that he reached last year, he still could have a great year. He's set the bar pretty high for himself."
Another great year is what most are predicting.
Entering 2000 Adams has been chosen preseason first team All-American by seven different services, and the preseason national defensive player of the year by Blue Ribbon College Football Preview.
But personal glory means nothing to Adams. For him, the bottom line is earning a shot at the national championship in the 2001 Orange Bowl.
"I'm not really concerned about me, because (football) is a team sport," said Adams. "I'm not really out for personal goals. I just want to get down to Miami. And I know that we need other people to play. I'm just trying to be a leader out there."
With offenses gearing their gameplans specifically to stop him, Adams will have to rely on teammates to pick up the slack. But, he says, that will only make the Tigers more of a well-rounded defensive threat.
"I'm not to worried about (being a marked man)," he said. "I just have to make my plays when the opportunity presents itself. Other guys will step up in my place if teams are keying on me. We just want to be a championship defense on a championship team."
Brad Davis is the assistant sports editor of the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Daily Messenger.
His columns can be read at www.dailyjournalmessenger.com.