Maye ready to put text messages to rest, get back out on the field

by - Senior Writer -
Maye, pictured here against Georgia Tech, is ready for another big-game atmosphere

CLEMSON – Tiger linebacker Brandon Maye carried his phone into Tuesday’s interview session, received a text message, and laughed out loud when he was asked if the 334 and 251 area codes, both in Alabama, have been keeping him busy in the days preceding the game at Auburn.

“Aw, man, did I tell you about that already,” Maye said with a smile. “It’s been crazy. I’ve probably got 20 text messages on my phone right now that say ‘War Eagle’. Every time I get a message that says ‘War Eagle’, I just reply ‘LOL’.”

Maye is from Mobile, Alabama, and said he grew up as a die-hard Auburn fan, even attending several games throughout his childhood and teen years. He also said that he has several friends who currently play for the “other” Tigers.

“It’s going to be crazy for me to actually be on the field,” he said. “Usually, I’m sitting on the top row in the nose-bleed section looking down on everybody. I’m going to be very excited to play against some of my teammates from the area- Nick Fairley, Michael McNeil and those guys that I’ve grown to know.”

Auburn never offered Maye, but he said that adds no extra motivation for him.

“It’s a motivation every time. Every week, I feel like you should be highly motivated to play your best game. Going to Auburn in that game day atmosphere, so much riding on that game, my friends, my fans, and my family are all going to be there- it’s going to be great.”

Getting to this point in the season has been no laughing matter for Maye – a position change in the spring and surgery on his knee shortly after fall camp ended have left him in a whirlwind – and he said he is ready to finally get back out on the field.

“I’ve been sitting on the sidelines for two weeks straight- it’s been tough to see my brothers go to war without me, but I’ll finally be back on the field,” he said. It’s [the knee] going to be 100% and ready to go Saturday. It’s been a little tender. I practiced last night and we’ll have to see come Saturday. It was definitely testing my faith. I came out and worked every day- I was there as a leader every day. I worked in the weight room, worked overtime.”

Maye let it slip on Tuesday – at least it was the first time that reporters had heard this – that he was actually supposed to be out until the Miami game in two weeks.

“I was supposed to be back for the Miami game- that tells you how much work and dedication I’ve put in to be back with my guys and ready to go to war,” Maye said. “This game has been circled on my calendar since the day they announced we were playing. I was actually with my best friend, Michael McNeil, the starting safety- right then and there that game got circled.”

It’s no secret that the Tigers have struggled with running quarterbacks over the past year, and Auburn has a strong runner in Cam Newton, but Maye said that the Clemson defense needs to just worry about the game plan – not Newton.

“He’s definitely a guy that we have to pay attention to,” he said. He’s the guy that they run their offense around. He’s athletic. He’s mobile. You have to make sure you keep him contained. We have to go out and make sure we execute our game plan- it’s more about Clemson than it is about Auburn.

“It’s one of those things where guys have to execute the game plan- you’re assigned gaps and you have to make sure you don’t get scooped out of your gap. We have to make sure we are more focused, pay attention to our jobs, and get our jobs done because they are a very good zone read team.”

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