Notes & quotes: Tigers ready for physical showdown

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and quarterback Tajh Boyd clap with teammates before jumping jacks on the first day of football practice in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and quarterback Tajh Boyd clap with teammates before jumping jacks on the first day of football practice in Clemson.

Our complete Clemson-Georgia preview and breakdown/pick are up, but there’s still some fun news and notes left…

Clemson-Georgia notes

* Georgia is one of only three teams to have a winning record all-time in Memorial Stadium (8-6-2), joined by Auburn (4-3) and Florida State (7-5).

* Clemson has won 13 of its last 14 home games and is 12-1 in home openers since 2000. Both losses, however, were to top-11 SEC opponents (South Carolina, 2012; Georgia, 2003).

* Georgia has lost its last two openers against BCS teams – 35-21 to No. 5 Boise State in a “neutral-site” game at the Georgia Dome in 2011 and 24-10 at No. 9 Oklahoma State in 2009.

* Over the last three seasons, Georgia is 28-12 and Clemson 27-12 – both going 17-7 in conference play. The Tigers hold the edge in top-25 wins (any poll), 7-4.

Clemson-Georgia in more words

QB Tajh Boyd

GameDay hype: It’s been pretty much how I’ve been preparing. Don’t watch too much ESPN these days. There is a lot of preseason hype and all that and preseason awards. I’m very thankful for it and it’s very cool, but at the same time, you have to go out there and perform. For me it’s about going out to perform at the best of my abilities.

S Robert Smith

Georgia’s playaction game: It’s very important to have real disciplined eyes. Aaron Murray is a great quarterback and we know they have Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall back there. It’s real important to do your job and trust that everybody else is going to do theirs. That’s the only way to play the game.

Offensive shootout ahead?: I hope it isn’t a shootout. If we go out their and do our gameplan and Georgia does their gameplan and we’ll go out see. It’s up to us to go out to show the nation what we really are. We can’t really say much because it is what it is. We have to go out and show the improvement over the offseason and being a different team. This isn’t last year’s team. It’s up to us to show the nation what we are this year.

Being sharpened in practice by facing Clemson’s offense: Tajh to me is as good as they come. The receivers we have are as good they come. Our offensive line, running backs – we go against great competition every day. I really feel that that’s going to help us in any game that we go into.

Clemson defense the question mark?: Nobody wants to be the question mark. It’s for us to change that. No one can change that except for us. We’re accountable for all of our actions. Saturday will give a chance for the first time this year and this team to erase that question mark.

Shatley: Experience helps on o-line v. UGa

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RG Tyler Shatley

Georgia: It’s definitely a huge game. It’s a game to see where we stand as far as the national ranking. Georgia is a great team and we’re going to play our best and see how we measure up to them.

Like LSU: It’s very similar. They both are great teams. They both have a great defense and a really powerful offense and try to run it right at us. It’s SEC football so it’s a big defensive football conference so we’re going to get tested this first game.

Matching up: I think we’ll match up well. It’s going to be a great game like the LSU game. Our offense is going to be challenge and their offense is real powerful too so our defense is going to be challenged as well. We’re just going to need to show and have our best game.

More intensity for this one?: There probably is more adrenaline. You like to say there’s not and each week you come out with the same mentality. But there is a buzz around campus and all the kids are excited and even the faculty – you walk out of class (and they say), ‘Go get them Saturday.’ It’s a little pressure on us. At the same time, we look to play every game at our best and it will work out.

More physical identity to Tiger football now?: Before the bowl game we had a lot more physical practices because that was the LSU game was going to be and that’s how it was. That just transitioned into spring ball and into fall camp. I think it’s more physical than year’s past, but nothing we’re not used to. I think (the identity) has (changed). I think we’ve become a more physical football team. Everybody is trying to do that, but I think we’re definitely trying to transform into one.

How did that happen?: Just being more competitive with each other. When we go against the defense, it’s not just go out there and run these four or five plays. We go out there and compete. We’re trying to get a first down and a touchdown. If we don’t, the loser might have to do up-downs. It’s just more competitive.

O-line depth: It makes me feel a lot more comfortable knowing that we have that reliable depth. And we also have had experience in game. We’re not going in there and star-struck.

LB Quandon Christian

Georgia offense: (Todd) Gurley is a great back. He’s probably the best running back in the country. Aaron is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Looking forward to playing them.

Another year in Brent Venables’ system: That year really helped us under Coach V. We know what he’s looking for and what he wants out of us.

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