Wofford players excited about the chance to experience Death Valley environment


by - Staff Writer -
Wofford takes on Clemson Saturday at 4 pm (ACC Network)
Wofford takes on Clemson Saturday at 4 pm (ACC Network)

Nobody expects Wofford to compete with Clemson when the in-state foes square off Saturday afternoon in Death Valley, but that’s just one reason why the Terriers can’t wait to make the trip down Interstate 85.

As the top team in the Southern Conference, every game is a must-win but the Terriers are looking to use the game against the fourth-ranked Tigers as a measuring stick.

“It provides a different type of excitement this week,” offensive lineman Blake Jeresaty said. “The Southern Conference is a little more stressful. This week is just excitement, opportunity, opportunity to go against the best and test what we’re building here.”

For cornerback Darron Paschal, these are the games he lives for.

“I know it’s definitely going to be a sight to see. I’ve never experienced anything like it,” Paschal said. “But Clemson is a great organization from top to bottom. Great coaches, great players. We get to see where we stack up against the best of the best. As a competitor, that’s what you live for. You want to see where you stand up. This will help us in the end, playing such great talent, going into three conference games. We’re going to be a little bit at ease, maybe feeling a little more confident after this game.”

Wofford head coach Josh Conklin said the players and coaches are looking forward to competing against the best in the country and in one of the best atmospheres in college football.

“As a competitor, even as coaches, you want to go and compete against the best,” Conklin said. “Coach (Dabo) Swinney is arguably one of the best head coaches in the country right now. Coach (Brent) Venables down there, I’ve known him and he’s a great defensive coordinator. … As coaches you look at that.

“I know as players, they’re going to be excited to go. They’re excited to go match up against the best of the best. They understand that. They know who the Clemson Tigers are. They know who they are as players and as a program. They’ll be excited to go compete and lay it on the line for 60 minutes.”

Much like Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, Conklin wants to see his team compete and play clean football.

“I don’t think anybody expects us to be in the football game or expects us to give them much of a game,” Conklin said. “Our thought process is, let’s go down there. Let’s prepare as well as we can. Let’s go down there and compete hard for 60 minutes and let’s try to execute as well as we can. If we can do that, it will get us in better position moving forward for what we want to do in terms of trying to win this conference and get in the playoffs.”

Jeresaty knows the Death Valley environment will be a challenge for the Wofford offense – especially the line.

“As a center, especially, (quarterback Joe Newman) and I’s relationship and getting the snap count and all of that executed is going to be a challenge, Jeresaty said. “We’ll work on that in practice a lot this week. Other than that, once the game starts and that first hit happens, we understand that we can’t be worried about anything else other than blocking that guy in front of us. It’s going to take plenty of attention this week. After that, we’ll be ready to go.”

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