CLEMSON — Garry Peters admits he’ll watch more film, and have some extra focus in practice this week.
Clemson’s sophomore cornerback has good reason: he’ll be making his first career start.
Peters was impressive Saturday replacing benched junior Darius Robinson, deflecting a pass and making his first career interception in No.15 Clemson’s 45-31 win at Boston College.
Sunday, coach Dabo Swinney said he is in line to start Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. visit from Georgia Tech, although Peters said he didn’t learn until a reporter asked him about it Monday.
Regardless, Peters is ready to fulfill his coaches’ faith in him.
“You don’t want to let your team down,” he said. “And now that you go from playing a lot of special teams to a starting role, you just want to study and prepare even harder, so you won’t mess up when that opportunity comes again.”
This offseason, Peters worked on his speed, saying head strength and conditioning coach Joey Batson “knows what I need: I’ve just got to show up and he’ll get me right.” His intensity also wasn’t what it needed to be, Peters admitted.
Secondary coach Charlie Harbison had prepared Peters for playing time in the event Robinson struggled, but he had seen little action, getting only 15 defensive snaps in the first four games.
“It was hard at times, but I stayed composed and waited for my opportunity,” he said. “I practice hard every day and waited for the opportunity. It presented itself and I was the happiest guy ever.”
A few butterflies flitted through Peters’ stomach when he found out he’d be starting the second half, but they quickly dissipated after Boston College threw at him on its first offensive play.
He knocked the ball down and was actually upset he didn’t get the interception, saying, “I’ve got good hands, but man.”
Peters played solid coverage and later got that interception, picking off Chase Rettig at the Clemson 12 to end BC’s chances late in the fourth quarter.
He and Robinson are friends off the field, and he said Robinson has supported him 100 percent.
Same goes for his teammates, who would surely welcome improved secondary play.
“Now my confidence is a lot higher than it was,” Peters said. “I’ve always been a confident guy but my confidence is a lot higher with my teammates behind me. They’ve got my back.”
Senior defensive back Xavier Brewer has shuffled between safety and corner over the past year, but Peters’ emergence might mean that Brewer could move back to safety or work as the nickel back.
That was cool for Garry to come in and step up for us,” Brewer said. “(Harbison) said when he put him in, ‘Brewer, be ready, be ready.’ I said, ‘Coach, he’s good. He’s out there.’ It was cool to see him go out and make plays.”
Chop party: Preparing for Georgia Tech’s flexbone offense means Clemson defenders must prepare for chop blocks, a two-part block where one defender blocks above the waist while another blocks below it. They’re a constant feature of the Yellow Jackets’ offense.
“Words can’t really describe how I dislike it,” said sophomore defensive end Corey Crawford. “We have to play the technique that (defensive ends) coach (Marion) Hobby is going to tell us to do. We’ve just got to be in position to defeat that block and do what he tells us to do.”
Furman also used similar techniques this season; sophomore defensive tackle DeShawn Williams left the game with an ankle injury. Crawford said Hobby will preach proper countermoves this week.
“It’s mostly, you’ve got to use your hands,” he said. “Try and push their head down before they get to you. They aim for your knees, so you’ve got to be quick enough with your hands.”