Clemson had to settle for that short ride to the Meineke Car Care Bowl 12 months ago. They're in sunny South Florida for the Orange Bowl this year.
"A BCS bowl is real different. Look at where we're standing," Branch said.
"I'm loving the atmosphere. It's a great place to be."
The temperatures in south Florida are slightly higher than they were in
Charlotte a year ago.
"The biggest difference [is] we were practicing in the snow last year,"
said Landon Walker. "This year, we're practicing in 80 degree weather.
It's a totally different experience."
It is, however, a business trip for the Tigers.
"We want to focus on beating West Virginia. That's all we're focusing on,"
THE TWO-DAY CAMP: Instead of arriving to the Miami area on
Thursday, Dabo Swinney had players meet on Tuesday. Most took the
team charter flight down from Greenville. Others flew and drove in on
Tajh Boyd, who lives in Seneca, had to re-adjust to the warmer
"I'm definitely not used to the weather here, but we're starting to get
back to it. We practiced and then had conditioning," he said. "We had our
third practice today and third day of conditioning."
Practice during those two days was business as usual.
"We added a couple of things, but nothing too much. The only things that
we were doing was making sure that we were executing as well as we can,"
Boyd said. "Guys are working really hard. Guys are responding. Nobody is
complaining and moaning. They're just out there working, competing."
They know what's at stake next Wednesday night.
"This is it," Boyd said. "This is the last game of the season. Everything
we do we've got to go out there and work and give it everything we've
A FAMILIAR FACE: Clemson isn't the only team playing in the Orange
Bowl with a former South Fort Myers Wolfpack standout.
Redshirt sophomore cornerback Brodrick Jenkins played high school ball
with Sammy Watkins.
"In high school [Jenkins] is the one that made me better," Watkins said.
"We used to practice hard together, one-on-one and stuff like that."
The former teammates spent time with one another over the break.
"We were talking back home. We actually had a get together. I was telling
him what they do and what I'm watching for. It will be fun to play him,"
Orange Bowl Appeal
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