Meineke Car Care Bowl Notebook III

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - With the Meineke Car Care Bowl less than two days away, Wednesday's workout at Charlotte Country Day School was Clemson's final practice of the year.

READY TO ROLL: Dalton Freeman is disappointed with Tigers' 6-6 record. Before the season, he hoped for a trip to the Queen City during the first week in December, not the last.

But he's making the most out of the situation.

"We haven't had the kind of season we wanted to…anytime you can come back and have a chance to go 7-6, it puts so much momentum going into the offseason," he said.

Freeman is also chomping at the bit to get back on the field one-more time in 2010, especially after the disappointing 31-7 loss to South Carolina in the regular season finale.

"I feel like, against South Carolina, we came out of the gate so fast," he said. "After that, we never got into a rhythm."

Establishing the run will help expedite the process of finding a rhythm on offense against South Florida.

Easier said than done against a sturdy Bulls front that allows just under 140 yards rushing per game.

"They do a lot of blitzing early on. Other games, they just play base. Our job is just to go out there and establish the run—keep them off balance, instead of them keeping us off balance," Freeman said.

GET IN FRONT OF T-MAC: One of the biggest hindrances to Clemson's efforts in running the ball will be South Florida defensive tackle Terrell McClain.

So far this season, McClain has 23 tackles, 4½ tackles for loss and three sacks. He also leads the team with six quarterback hurries.

At this time next year, the senior hopes to be earning a living for chasing down quarterbacks.

"I just like playing the game of football," McClain said. "They say if you go out there and play the game, things will come along. That's what I've done for the last few years. I'll just keep to that."

The Clemson offensive line hopes that he's unable to build upon his NFL resume' at Bank of America Stadium on Friday.

McClain has a lot of respect for Tigers' front five.

"They're a very big offensive line. We've gone against big ones, like Miami and Pittsburgh," he said. "They're big. I know they're going to be strong."

IF YOU AIN'T FIRST, YOU'RE LAST: Among the most diehard NASCAR fans on the Clemson football team, Landon Walker felt right at home during Wednesday's team outing to Lowe's Motor Speedway for the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

The East Wilkes High School graduate grew up in North Carolina, right in the heart of NASCAR country.

Freeman said Walker was "like a kid in a candy shop" on Wednesday.

"Being at a track, I grew up around this my whole life," Walker said. "Just being able to be at the track, smell the fumes—I love it. I go to races all the time."

After Clemson's 31-7 win over Maryland on Oct. 16, he made the haul from Clemson to Concord for the Bank of America 500.

"I grew up as a kid going to the North Wilkesboro, and obviously here…I've been going for a while. I've going to races every year," Walker said.


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