Sammy Watkins expects no rust for Florida State

Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins runs past Furman cornerback Cortez Johnson in the first quarter.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins runs past Furman cornerback Cortez Johnson in the first quarter.

Morris on Sammy and receivers against FSU


Sammy Watkins certainly didn’t look rusty Saturday afternoon against Furman.

In his much-anticipated return from a two-game suspension, Clemson’s star sophomore wide receiver was his usual electric self, catching four passes for 52 yards and taking his lone carry 58 yards for his first career rushing touchdown.

Watkins is confident he received enough game action to prepare himself for the No.10 Tigers’ ACC showdown against No.4 Florida State in Tallahassee.

“They didn’t get the ball to me that much, but I wasn’t worried about touching the ball,” he said. “I just wanted to be out there running around and blocking, get back doing the normal things wide receivers do. But I’m pretty sure I’ll be prepared touching the ball in practice, moving around a lot and running around with motions.”

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney announced Watkins’ suspension following the first preseason practice, giving him plenty of time to prepare. He spent two weeks before the season with the scout team, and returned to work with the normal offense during the Ball State week. That left him with a smooth transition.

“Everything came pretty easy,” he said. “I’ve been practicing when I was sitting out, with the scouts, running around and staying in shape.”

Even so, running 58 yards was harder than catching a 58-yard touchdown pass.

“It’s a longer run,” he said. “You get tired, but it’s all right.”

Right tackle battle?: Redshirt freshman and Wren alum Shaq Anthony has started the last two games while sophomore Gifford Timothy recovers from knee soreness connected to an August meniscus surgery. Timothy played Saturday and is listed as the starter on this week’s depth chart, but offensive coordinator Chad Morris said he won’t necessarily simply be handed back his position.

Morris said Timothy “has to get back that hard edge” he had in August, and the “red carpet won’t be rolled out for him.”

"If he comes out there dancing around like he doesn't have anything to prove, he'll be over there with us (coaches),” Morris said.

Anthony downplayed talk of any position battle, saying he and Timothy support each other.

“I don’t view it as a battle as much as I view it as both of us trying to get better and helping each other out, working with each other constantly, consistently each week and trying to get better,” he said. “Giff helps me with a lot of the plays, because I moved to right tackle in the middle of camp. I was transitioning there, learning how to kick from that side. I

“I really had no experience getting my steps down, learning my technique and learning my plays from that side, doing everything opposite. We’ve built a better relationship as teammates doing that. Even through the game he was like, ‘You’re doing a great job, keep working hard,’ and I’m the same way with him. We both critique each other. I don’t see it as a battle as much as a friendship trying to build each other up.”

BC-Clemson on 6-day hold: The ACC and ESPN announced Monday that six games on Sept. 29 – including Clemson’s visit to Boston College – have been placed on a “six day hold.” Game time will be released Sunday afternoon. The game will be televised on either ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

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