Branching out

CLEMSON - What is it the quiet celebration Andre Branch does after every sack? We wanted to know too.

Redshirt senior defensive end Andre Branch has gotten off to a fast start in 2011.

And even stating it that way is an understatement.

In six games, Branch has 40 total tackles, including 10 for loss and six sacks.

CUTigers caught up with the standout senior earlier Tuesday to get his thoughts on the season, Maryland and much more:

Where does the Andre Branch celebratory dance after a sack move come from? You know the one where you put your hands behind your back?
Branch: I mean it's pretty much symbolizing that I can't be locked up. I can't be blocked. I put my hands behind my back like I'm being handcuffed.

Where did you get that idea from?
Branch: It just came to me one game, and I ran with it. It's very original. I don't like being calm. I like being very original, that's why I came up with it.

There was a report yesterday on ESPN that you were voted potentially mid-season ACC defensive player of the year. How does that sound?
Branch: I mean that sounds great, but like you just said it's mid-season. If I don't do anything else this year, I don't get it.

A difficult task this week as you could be facing two very different quarterbacks. C.J. Brown likes to run it, Danny O'Brien likes to pass it. What does that mean to you?
Branch: They are two very good quarterbacks. Like you said, one of them can run, and he can really run. O'Brien can pass really well. It's going to be different, but I know Coach Steele will have the right calls for us.

Andre Branch was mentioned as the most valuable defensive player in the ACC through the first half of the season by ESPN earlier this week.
During the week does preparing for that make a big difference? Does that give you something more to thing about or is it just business as usual?
Branch: It's just business as usual. I go out there and play my game. I can't be worried about what Maryland's doing on their side. I just do what I need to do in order to win.

Two years ago, you made the trip up to Byrd Stadium with bad results. What do you remember about that game and that afternoon?
Branch: I just remember that we lost. That's all I remember. That's all that needs to be remembered, that we lost. We need to turn that around.

Is it a hostile environment? Does the crowd become a factor for you at times?
Branch: I don't pay attention to any crowds. When people talk, they say their crowd is very nasty and mean. That's fine. I love that stuff, it just adds fuel to the fire.

You're 6-0. Are you surprised that you're at this point right now?
Branch: No, not at all. I know everything that every player of my team has and what they're capable of doing. We're just playing to the maximum of our ability.

The defense has really improved these last couple of weeks. What do you attribute that to?
Branch: Playing to our potential and having a great coaching staff, headed by Coach Steele. Coach Steele is the best of the best. Top Stories