Honest assessment

CLEMSON - Josh Watson calls it like he sees it. So, who better to go to for a breakdown of the South Carolina game, bowl practice and LSU?

Watson, a redshirt sophomore from Delaware, has started in eight of this season's games. He's second among Clemson defensive tackles with 426 snaps and first with 50 tackles.

The following is an edited transcript of last week's interview with Watson.

What do you expect to see from LSU's offense?
Watson: Just a lot of pounding, it's a physical team, big guys. A trick play might be a toss. You know what I'm saying? A halfback toss, that's about it. Everything else, you know it's coming. A lead zone, right there to the left, that fullback's coming. He's a load, too. We've just got to hunker up and get them down on the ground, to stop the run.

Do you think you'll see some trick stuff, since they've gotten some extra days?
Watson: Absolutely not. They're going to run with what works. They run the ball very well. I don't think they'll switch it up now. They run a lot of one receiver routes. If that guy's not open, they throw it out of bounds. Other than that, they just are going to try to run the ball, try to run it down our throats.

Do you like that kind of matchup?
Watson: I do. I do. I like to prove some people wrong, some people that think we're not physical. Maybe because they've got an SEC logo on their jersey, they're all of a sudden going to be tougher than us or whatever. We want to get out there and show them we put on the pads the same way that they do. We compete at their level, as well.

Do you get tired of hearing about the SEC being all big and bad?
Watson: Absolutely, I'm a man just like they are. They put their pads on the same way we do. They're no bigger and stronger than I am, honestly. I'm ready to just -- whatever they throw at us -- I'm ready to take it. Plug up my gaps, get off blocks, make some plays, keep them off my linebackers, as well, so they can scrape over and make some plays, too. That's just going to be the key of the game. It's going to be the trenches on both sides. The offense has got to stop their d-line. Defense has got to stop their o-line and get back there and tackle the ball carrier.

With an offense like this, how important is it going to be to get off the field? It seemed like that was an issue in the second half against South Carolina.
Watson: Coach [Dabo] Swinney said he talked to coach [Steve] Spurrier and coach Spurrier was amazed at how the teams were snapping the ball fast on us. He said he wasn't going to do that. He was going to take his time and snap the ball, and just make the conversions. That's what they did. It seemed like whenever they needed a big play, South Carolina, they got one.

I think LSU is going to do the same. Hold the ball, get in the huddle, take their time, run the ball and try to get their three or four yards every play, and just keep our offense off the field, because they know how dangerous they are. We just have to give our offense, get them the ball back, [and] get them into a rhythm. We should have a good game against them.

Has being physical been the biggest part of these practices?
Watson: Just iron on iron, iron sharpens iron, just battling in there. Coach Swinney has got his foot up our butts, basically. He didn't take it out for about four days.

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