Plenty to prove

ATLANTA - Clemson defensive tackle Deshawn Williams understands the perception of the Tigers' defense. And he's more than ready for that to change.

You've played two SEC teams, how does LSU compare?
Williams: Every other SEC team is big, strong up front, offensive and defensive line. They pride themselves out, wearing a team out. They love to try to impose their will. We've just got to go out there and just show them that an ACC team can hang with the big boys. We can get a lot of respect going into next year.

Do you get tired of ACC teams not getting a lot respect?
Williams: We know SEC teams don't have a lot of respect, not for just us, but ACC teams, period. It's a real slap in the face, because we can go out there and know we can…we watch the film, y'all watch the film, their offensive line tries to pound you and wear you out. We've got to get the mindset that it's going to be a long day.

Some say the focus was lost in Miami last year, how do you balance play time and football time?
Williams: I think we've done very well. Last year, in South Beach, that's hard. Your mind goes. But, it's a business trip. We know what we have to do. This is bragging rights. We finish in the top 10, next year, we have a lot more boost. Last year, when we lost we heard, 70 points, 70 points, 70 points.

Is it about your reputation?
Williams: It's about us. It's all about Clemson. It's about who the real Tigers are. We've just got to play ball.

Do they have any weaknesses?
Williams: From what I know of, no. They do what they do best. They have a couple of running backs. No. 3 and No. 80, just goes deep. They have a big fullback, No. 80, he's just a big pound guy. Other than that, what I've seen, they're successful at the run. We stop the run, it's going to be a good day for us.

The offense gets a lot of attention, but y'all get kicked around on defense. Does that serve as extra motivation?
Williams: It does. I think, you've seen, throughout the middle of the season we've progress, gotten better and better and better. Our offense is a great offense. I love our offense. But, you know? We don't really pay too much attention to it, because of our role. Our defense, we're going to be a top notch defense. We're going to keep growing. We've got a bunch of young guys.

But we're tired of hearing about it. We're going to be great.

With LSU's style it's going to be a challenge for the front seven. What's that like knowing they're going to test you?
Williams: Like coach [Dan] Brooks said, you've got to love these type of games. This is, I'm going to test your manhood. Whoever beats you in the 1-on-1's and the double-teams, I think, we're the only game on that night -- everybody is going to be watching. They're going to know if you can hang with the big boys or not.

Thinking back to the feeling from last year's bowl, you probably heard all about that in the offseason.
Williams: It just sucks when, after the game, you felt like you can do so much more than what you did. Giving up 70 points, that's a no, no for any defense in the NCAA football. We just want to change, change that, you know? Get a better vibe around Clemson. Top Stories