O'Daniel: "I am very excited about my opportunity"

by - Assoc. Editor -
O'Daniel at Clemson's Fall practice this week
O'Daniel at Clemson's Fall practice this week

Clemson redshirt junior Dorian O'Daniel spoke to the media on Friday night and discussed his long-awaited opportunity at having a larger role at the linebacker position.

"Definitely feels good [increased role]," O'Daniel said. "Definitely a confidence booster. I put a lot of hard work in this offseason to where I feel like I deserve it. I can't stop now I have to keep working and keep getting better every day. Just very humbling and I am very excited about my opportunity because I have been waiting for a very long time. I have been very patient. I have paid my dues. Now I am just ready to reap the benefits."

O'Daniel knows that he has grown mentally football-wise as a veteran, and that will help him this upcoming season.

"Probably my knowledge of the game - my responsibilities in pass coverage and run defense."

O'Daniel is a team player and currently still on the kickoff coverage to help on special teams.

"I'm still on the kickoff team. I'm excited about that. Any way I can contribute to help the team win I'm all for it, O'Daniel said.

He has made his living on specials teams with an impressive 32 tackles (including 19 tackles in 2015) the last two seasons doing some of the dirty work for the team.

"Just buying in. Last year I didn't play too much defense," O'Daniel said. "I got a few snaps here and there, but my main role was special teams. I had to buy in, and a lot of people don't buy into special teams because they think this, that or the other, but I just bloomed where I was planted. It definitely takes a toll on the body. When you are a starter on defense, and you have to come right off the kickoff and go on to defense, you are a little winded. But for me, it was a little different because like I said I didn't play as much as defense. So I really could all out on special teams."

O'Daniel thinks that the defense is gelling well and has remarkable team chemistry.

It's great," O'Daniel said on the defense. "It started through the summer - our skills and drills. It was just collectively great team chemistry. Everyone is on the same page. There is no bad energy. All positive energy. Everyone just kind of vibes off each other. This offseason during the summer me and Jalen (Williams) just been getting extra work in. Coming in late when the indoor is closed after hours just putting in extra work, getting our footwork right, watching film. Just taking every necessary step that I said I didn't do as much last year."

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