Playoff Media Day: From fear of flying to disguising blitzes, it was all covered Tuesday
Trevor Lawrence speaks with the media Tuesday

Playoff Media Day: From fear of flying to disguising blitzes, it was all covered Tuesday

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – You learn the most interesting and bizarre things at media days.

No. 3 Clemson held its College Football Playoff Media Day Tuesday in the Poe Indoor Facility, giving the media a chance to talk to each of the starters heading into the Fiesta Bowl ahead of Ohio State.

Yes, we hear plenty of talk about the matchup with the Buckeyes, but there are few rather interesting nuggets I will pass along here because they don’t really fit into a story but deserve to be told. I will start with freshman defensive tackle Tyler Davis. I asked Davis about flying to Phoenix and he said this would be his first trip out West. I asked him if he was looking forward to it, and he said he wasn’t looking forward to the flight because he’s afraid of heights. That means he doesn’t like to ride on airplanes, and taking off and landing are frightening.

Davis said that on the flight back from Louisville earlier this season the plane hit some bad turbulence and it was the most scared he’s ever been. Offensive guard John Simpson said he sits near Davis and isn’t unusual to see Davis with a blanket over his head when the plane takes off. Defensive end Justin Foster said he sits in front of Davis, and once the blanket goes on Davis’ head, Foster reaches back and starts tapping Davis on the leg and trying to scare him.

The flight to Phoenix should be fun. I just hope someone gets a video.

While I was talking to Simpson about Davis being scared of flying, Simpson admitted he’s scared of frogs. Kermit is ok. But a real, live, jumping frog terrifies.

“It hasn’t always been that way,” Simpson said. “But if someone were walk through that door right now with a frog I would run the other way.”

He also admitted he doesn’t like people wearing masks. He will watch a Friday the 13th movie – but seeing a person wearing a mask is not his idea of fun.

*Isaiah Simmons said Trevor is the best quarterback in the nation and prepares them well for Ohio State. quarterback Justin Fields.

*Simmons said the schedule doesn’t matter because they play Clemson. No one has a tougher schedule than playing Clemson 13 times, he said.

*Lawrence was asked about sitting out next season, and he laughed.

“I am not going to sit out, that’s all I can say,” Lawrence said. “Keep it simple. People that said I should sit out this season said I was bad the first couple of games this season. I am not paying any attention to it.”

*Wide receiver Tee Higgins said he can hear his mother call his name no matter where she sits in the stadium. I asked him about going pro – whether that happens this year or next – and if there is something that he wants to do his for his mother. He said he wants to buy her a car, and he knows what kind he wants to purchase for her.

“But I can’t say what that is,” he said. “She will be watching all of these videos.”

Higgins also said he is looking forward to facing Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah.

*Clemson is playing in its fifth consecutive College Football Playoff and for many of the players, it’s just business as usual. Many of the defensive players said that while this is a new year and Ohio State is a new team, they can lean on their experience of knowing what it takes to win a Playoff game and a national championship.

*Derion Kendrick was asked what he saw on film that Wisconsin and some of Ohio State’s later opponents did to slow the Buckeyes’ offense and, while he was very calculated in his answer and trying to not to give too much away, he said they were able to disguise coverages and blitzes.

The Buckeyes are 103rd nationally in sacks allowed, and we asked linebacker James Skalski what allowed teams to get to Fields.

“He has a big frame, so he stands in the pocket,” Skalski said. “But the teams that have been able to get pressure on him haven’t used a pattern. A blitz might come from somewhere one play and then from somewhere else on the next play. Teams have done a good job of disguising their blitzes.”

I can see Brent Venables in his office diagramming blitzes now.

NFL Draft Decisions

Amari Rodgers

Rodgers was asked about his Draft status and he said that he made the decision during Clemson’s second off week to return for his senior season. Rodgers spoke with his family members, including his father Tee Martin (wide receivers coach/ passing game coordinator at Tennessee) and they all decided it would be in his best interest to come back to school, especially considering how deep this year’s wideout class is. With the potential loss of Tee Higgins, Rodgers wants to be a steadying presence in the wide receiver corps.

Tee Higgins

Higgins said he hasn’t made a decision yet, but he made a promise to his mom when he started his career at Clemson that he wouldn’t leave without a college degree. He has two semesters remaining before he can graduate.

Travis Etienne

Etienne said he won’t start thinking about the NFL Draft until Clemson’s season is over and at that point, he will make his decision.

A.J. Terrell

Terrell said he hasn’t completely made up his mind as of yet, but he’s is considering entering the NFL Draft.

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