Motivated Watkins has positive outlook on 2012 season


by - Senior Writer -
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CLEMSON – Sophomore slump? Forget about it. Hang his head? Never in a million years. Believe the hype? Can't do that and get better.

Sophomore wide receiver Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 200
Fort Myers, FL

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met with the media following Friday’s practice, and he covered a wide range of topics, including those listed above.

Watkins is suspended for the first two games of the season, and he said Friday that he isn’t letting his absence affect his attitude, how he relates to his teammates or how he practices.

“Sometimes you do get down, but at the same time you have to help your team out,” Watkins said. “You have to show them that positive energy and that is what I do out on the field. I bring that positive energy out there and work hard and work the DB's (defensive backs) because they are the ones that need help. They will be going against everybody in the conference. I want to focus on me getting better and helping my teammates. If I come out there with a negative attitude and hanging my head down then they are going to be negative. “

Head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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said Monday that the Tigers will begin game planning for Auburn next week – earlier than usual because of the number of younger players on the roster – and Watkins was asked how it will feel to not be a part of the preparations.

“I don’t want to say I won't be involved. I will be involved, paying attention and listening and helping the receivers and quarterbacks out,” Watkins said. “I will still be participating - I won't be just out. I won't be down there that Saturday but I will be with those guys in spirit and watching those guys and hoping for a win. I am going to keep putting in the work and I will be ready by that third game.”

Watkins said he hasn’t changed the way he practices, despite the impending suspension.

“I haven't treated it any different,” he said. “Every day I came in and put in work. I just treat it the same as I did last year in camp. Just trying to get better and help my team out. You feel kind of down, but it's the consequences for my actions. “

He won't travel with the team to Atlanta for the opener, but says he will be watching with more interest than the normal Clemson fan.

“I am going to be excited like if I was there,” he said. “I will be jumping up and down if they make some plays.”

Watkins said that one thing has changed is how he views himself.

“Now it really hits me how important I am to Clemson and the fans and the little kids that walk around here,” he said. “There are people that look up to me and I need to keep on the straight and narrow path through college and the NFL and do the right things. I need to work harder than I did last year. Just delete everything that happened last year. Go over my notes. Practice the same way. Work on my ball skills. Set my goals for this year, and that is what I am working on.”

He also said he doesn’t believe his game will take a step back this season, and part of that is not listening to the hype.

“I don't believe in a sophomore slump,” he said. “I don’t pay attention to what people say. I don’t pay attention to any of that. I am not on TigerNet reading the articles. I don’t really get on ESPN. I just zoom in on this football team. I don’t worry about rankings and AP All-American and the Heisman. If that happens, that's fine. But great athletes don’t worry about that.

“That doesn’t define if you are a great athlete. They put that to the side. I don’t have any of my awards from last season - they were sent home. That is not something I do. I just keep working hard and focus on the greater things. It’s not about what you do last year but it’s about the next year. I have to put that behind me. Great athletes put that last game behind them. Whatever happened last year was great, but it doesn't matter. We have to be consistent and I have to be consistent as a player on and off the field.”

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