Q&A with Tommy Sharpe

We sat down Tuesday with Tommy Sharpe to get his thoughts on a number of topics, including the unexpected passing of Jim Phillips, the upcoming game against Middle Tennessee State, and the 28-17 win last week over the Furman Paladins.

You guys made some progress last week against Furman, do you feel like you are one step closer to getting this offensive line where it needs to be?
Sharpe: I think we showed improvement, but we still have a long ways to go. We've got a lot that we need to work on in practice this week. We need to work on our double team blocks, coming off of linebackers, sustaining blocks, and just making sure we've got our feet underneath us. I think we made some progress last week, but we still have a long ways to go.

It looks like this team has played better during the first half in each of the first two weeks, and sort of let up some in the second half...what do you attribute that to?
Sharpe: A little bit of everything I think. I think a lot of back ups got in against Furman there in the second half and played a lot. You got guys that haven't played together in there, or guys getting their first gameday experience in there. We had still had some good plays in the second half where we almost had a touchdown pass. We made some plays, we just weren't able to put points on the board like we did in the first half. Plus I think we also had a lot of penalties that really hurt us last Saturday.

Looking ahead to Middle Tennessee State this weekend, do you view this game as kind of a warm-up before you guys head down to Atlanta next week?
Sharpe: No. You can't ever do that. The second you start viewing Middle Tennessee State as a warm up game, that's when you get beat. These are guys that are great athletes. I went to Middle Tennessee's camp when I was in high school, and they have a great program going on up there. I have a lot respect for them. If you even think about going into a game without respecting a team like this, then you'll get embarrassed. They are going to bring their A-game. They are used to playing big schools, that's how they make their money. So, no, there's no way that we will underestimate them at all.

Can you talk about the mood of this team right now?
Sharpe: We are a team that's hungry and a team that's ready to prove that we are a better team than people think we are. The bottom line is that we are just ready to go out there and prove to everyone else that we are a good team.

It's a sad days for Clemson fans with the passing of Jim Phillips. Do you have any memories of him that you could share with us?
Sharpe: Just to me, he was always Clemson football. To be honest, I never grew up listening to Clemson games because I grew up in south Georgia and we couldn't pick it up. But to me he is just as much a part of Clemson as The Rock, The Hill, and everything else. It's sad to see him gone. I know Clemson fans are going to miss him greatly.

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