Orange Bowl Appeal

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - For Andre Branch, a January bowl game in Florida is far more appealing than a late-December trip to Charlotte.

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," Branch said.

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 their own.

Tajh Boyd, who lives in Seneca, had to re-adjust to the warmer temperatures.

"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 got."

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," Watkins said. Top Stories