Patenaude said that he is trying to keep players from making Clemson into a bigger opponent, or the game more significant, than either already is. To Patenaude, the Tigers are simply the next opponent.
“It’s kind of cool they’re ranked first in the country and that they’re really good and we’re playing on ABC and all that kind of thing, but at the end of the day, we want to be 1-0 every week, and it’s got to be about us,” Patenaude said.
Coach Geoff Collins spoke the same message – to keep the focus internal. He shared how at the Tuesday morning practice, he noticed that when linebacker David Curry wasn’t on the field, he was watching the defense work against the scout-team offense from a distance, taking in defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker’s signals, watching the offensive alignments and then thinking his way through what he would do if he were playing – a “mental rep.”
In doing all that he could to get ready for Saturday – “he did not waste a minute the entire time he was out here,” Collins said – Curry exemplified the approach that he wants his team to take.
Said Collins, “We’ve got to take care of ourselves.”
That’s not to say they’re discounting Clemson. Collins said that the roster is filled with great players and that quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne are elite. But he wasn’t dwelling on them.
“We’ve got to get better, learn from the things we did well last Friday night, the things we did poorly – make sure we clean those things up,” he said. “Because the margin of error against such great players and coaches is very thin, so we understand we’ve got a really good opportunity and we’ve got to prepare at a high level to compete on Saturday.”
No. 1 Clemons at Georgia Tech, noon, Channel 2, 680, 1230, 106.3