Q&A with ESPN's Todd Blackledge on Clemson-FSU

by - Senior Writer -
Blackledge said Sammy Watkins reminds him of a faster Julio Jones.

CLEMSON – TigerNet caught up with ABC/ESPN college football analyst Todd Blackledge following Clemson’s Thursday practice as the Tigers prepare to take on No. 11 Florida St. this Saturday.

Blackledge, the former Penn St. quarterback, is calling the game along with play-by-play man Brad Nessler in the 3:30 p.m. contest, and the two were on hand to watch the Tigers practice and talk with Clemson players and coaches.

TN: Todd, how do the Tigers look different this season than Clemson teams you’ve covered in the past?

TB: Obviously, last week they were incredibly explosive offensively. They have good skill guys and fast guys and they just looked explosive. I thought [Tajh] Boyd played a tremendous game, and when that happens you have a lot of things to worry about as a defense. I am interested in seeing how they respond this week. They played great against the defending national champions, but now they have an even better team coming in this weekend to play in FSU. So I am anxious to see if they can play that way two weeks in a row.

TN: As a former quarterback, what do you think of Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS So. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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TB: The biggest thing I saw on film – not so much the first two games but this last game – was that he was relaxed, poised and confident. He knew where he wanted to go with the football. He was accurate, whether he was clean or under pressure, and I thought he played a magnificent game. He ran when he had to run and he made some plays with his legs when he had to. He was in total command of what they were doing.

TN: What are your thoughts on freshman wide receiver Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
Fr. Wide Receiver
#7 6-2, 200
Fort Myers, FL

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TB: He looks like a grown man out there. He doesn’t look like a freshman, physically. He plays the game the right way and from everything I hear, he prepares well. He is smart, a student of the game and takes it very seriously. He has all of the intangibles to be a great one. He reminds me of Julio Jones because he looks strong, but faster than Julio was.

TN: What do you like about Chad Morris’ offense?

TB: They are similar to a lot of teams in the fast tempo and they are running reverses and running fake reverses. They have a lot of movement, but it is still a matter of executing and making first downs. But if the quarterback plays like he did last week, it doesn’t matter who is calling the plays. But I like the energy and the tempo and the success they are having.

TN: Give us a couple of keys to this weekend’s game?

TB: Obviously, they have to be balanced on offense because Florida St. has a much better defense than Auburn. So they need to be balanced and take care of the football and realize that it isn’t going to be as easy this week as it was a week ago. The defense is also going to have to play on the level of the offense this week.

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