Tuesday news and notes

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CLEMSON – News and quotes from Tuesday’s media session with selected Clemson players.

DE Andre BranchAndre Branch
RS Sr. Defensive End
#40 6-5, 260
Richmond, VA

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On playing back in Virginia (Branch is from Richmond)

“It’s going to be a homecoming of sorts. It feels good to going back home. I haven’t played there since I’ve been at Clemson, because my freshman year [Virginia] they came here. Richmond is going to be pretty packed in Blacksburg. I played in Virginia in 2008. Maryland isn’t too far either. I’ve never played in Blacksburg. “

On Saturday’s failed 4th down conversion by the offense

“We went over to the offensive huddle as a defense and asked him what he was going to do. He said that his first thought was to kick a field goal. We were like, ‘Man we believe in our offense regardless and we also believe in ourselves.’ When they didn’t get the first down, the pressure was on us. We stepped up and answered. That just shows that we were complementing us as a team, not just the offense or the defense.”

On final sack of FSU QB Clint Trickett

“FSU has a great offensive line. The game was on the line and we didn’t want to let our team down. We just wanted to be relentless and we got there.”

On being an underdog this week

“Like coach says, no one has us picked to win each week. We just want to go out there and play our ball. Not answer people’s questions. Just get better each and every week."

KICKER Spencer BentonSpencer Benton
RS Jr. Punter / Kicker
#13 6-2, 195
Myrtle Beach, SC

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On being prepared to come in and punt

“I put that in my mind early in the season just in case that did happen. Just before half time, we had to punt and I looked over and Dawson got hurt. I was like, ‘oh man, this is for real.’ I was just really worried about his health and making sure that he was ok. The best thing about it is that I have gotten to work with Dawson every day in practice as a punter. He is a great punter, great athlete, and great coach. Getting to work with a guy like that every day makes your game that much better. I felt ok out there because of me and Dawson working together. Coach[Danny} Pearman puts us in some pretty good situations in practice- first and second team get equal reps. It paid off in the game.”

On if he was nervous on first punt

“It was the best situation possible because the first was a sky punt. I just figured that the rush wouldn’t be as hard. They didn’t really bring a rush. The next one- it went through my mind that Dawson just got hurt and they got two roughing the kicker penalties in three punts. I just wanted to get it off.”

On how he is preparing this week

“My focus right now is that I’m the starter and I have to do my job. Dawson was at practice yesterday. He seemed ok. Hopefully he will be ready by Saturday.”

On last time he punted

“The last time I punted was week eight in my senior year in high school.”

On challenge of playing a team Virginia Tech’s special teams reputation

“Virginia Tech is a good team. We talk about the three aspects of the game- offense, defense, and special teams. We just have to try and win all margins. I’m just going to do my best and help my team. We have [worked on protections] this week. I think guys are trying to take ownership and there’s a sense of urgency there. We’ve had some close calls.”

On if he wanted to make a tackle on punt coverage

“I forgot. I was too worried about getting the punt off. I had to remember that it was live and I needed to make the tackle if I had to. That didn’t happen because they didn’t have any return yards.”

On why he likes to tackle on kickoffs

“I definitely have fun [tackling people]. I played a little defense in high school and I miss that. That’s the whole point of football is hitting somebody. Kickoffs are the only time that I get to be a part of that. It’s fun. Number nine for FSU was pretty big. One time, he came through the hole and Bashaud BreelandBashaud Breeland
RS Fr. Defensive Back
#17 6-0, 185
Allendale, SC

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made a pretty good tackle because he is a big guy. I’m glad he got to him before I did because I don’t know what the result would’ve been there. I probably would’ve been lost for the year.”

QB Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS So. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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On playing in hostile Lane Stadium

"It's not like we're going to somewhere in Kalamazoo. We're going to Lane Stadium, and it's a night game. So it's going to be hostile."

On Clemson’s loss in 2006

"It's irrelevant, honestly. This isn't the same Clemson team from recent years."

RT Landon WalkerLandon Walker
Gr. Offensive Tackle
#72 6-6, 305
North Wilkesboro, NC

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On taking freshmen on their first road trip

“I think there are a few guys who haven’t even been on a plane ride before and I find that funny. In practice, just let them know that the football field is 100 yards and 53 2/3 yards across. It’s the same football field. It’s the same game. The only difference is that people are yelling at you. That’s fun. If you can’t take that energy and positively make you want to do well and silence the crowd. That’s the most fun thing ever. When we went to Miami two years ago-it was up and down, don’t get me wrong- seeing the crowd get up and go down, that’s fun. I think for us offensive linemen to be able to enjoy that, and our offense to have that to look forward to is going to be huge Saturday. It comes back to preparation. The best thing about it is that the young guys are receivers. We don’t have a young tackle or center. That’s huge.”

On possibility of beating Virginia Tech

“I was reading something by John Madden the other day and the quote was, ‘The road to the easy street goes through the sewer.’ It kind of reminds me of our schedule. It’s just one tough game after another and one champion after another. Nothing is given. You can’t go to the ACC Championship by just looking pretty and coming off of the bus with a bunch of athletes. Obviously, we have a bunch of athletes, but we have to go through this schedule to get where we want to get and that’s the ACC Championship and the Orange Bowl. We have to beat Virginia Tech. Some people say if they beat Florida State, they don’t have to beat Virginia Tech to stay in the ACC division title race. We do. In my mind and in the minds of these guys we do. We don’t accept losing. It’s a different mentality around here than in the past. Going to Virginia Tech is a tough atmosphere, but it would be tremendous for this team to go get a win in Blacksburg to show that it’s a different year and a different team and different mentality. I think that’s what we are going to be able to do. It starts today having a good practice and tomorrow having a good practice. It’s a different game when you go on the road. If we can handle that like we’ve handled home games, it will be huge.”

Read Monday's notes here

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