It's Not Just A Rock

Last Saturday's game with Furman was just another game for many of the players and the fans, but for two walk-on's it was a day they will never forget. Youngsters all over the Palmetto state dream every year of one day touching the rock and running down the hill.

Walk-on quarterback Rush Lowther and walk-on receiver Duncan McLaurin experienced the traditions that make Clemson such a special place to play football for the first time Saturday. If you don't get goosebumps reading this article then you better check with your doctor.

QB Rush Lowther
Having grown up a Clemson fan what are your thoughts on Jim Phillips?
Lowther: This whole week has been kind of memorable of him. He was at practice one day early this week. Growing up and hearing his voice was very uplifting. I remember a lot of times when I didn't make it to the game because I was fishing with my dad we would listen on the radio. Whenever Clemson would score a touchdown it was just unbelievable. His voice and the way he talked.

What did Tommy say to the team about Jim Phillips?
Lowther: He talked to us. He said that a lot of the guys may not be old enough and haven't been around long enough to realize that Jim has been around here 36 years. A lot of the fans really looked up to him and thought a lot of him. He was a really great guy. He said that Saturday the crowd might not be that loud. We will need to create the emotion on our own. He said the last game Jim saw was a win, and he wanted to make sure the next one he sees is also a win also.

How did it feel like to put that Clemson Jersey on for your first time?
Lowther: It was unbelievable. We road over to the stadium on the bus and all the fans were looking at the bus and cheering for us. We got dropped off at the stadium, and I didn't know what to expect. We walked in the locker room and they have everybody's jersey set out with the pads. You read all the names on the jerseys like Hamilton, Currie and Whitehurst. I kept going and then I found my locker. To see my name on the back of that jersey it was just something that was unbelievable to me. It was a dream that I had chased forever. It finally came true.

QB Rush Lowther
What did it feel like to walk out on the field for your first game?
Lowther: I walked out on the field before the game and I tried to take it all in. I had dwelled on it for so many years and then it just happened so quickly. I didn't want to forget the road that led up to that hill.

How did it feel to get on the bus and ride around the stadium?
Lowther: There are 3 busses and I got on the third. I wasn't with most of the starters. But when I got on there and I sat down I saw both of my roommates. One of them was Thomas Hunter who I played against in high school. I kind of lived my dream through him last year when he got to dress, and it kind of showed me that if he could do it then I could do it. Duncan another one of my roommates sat beside me. Last year we fought the same battle. On the way over there we looked at each other and said this is it. We couldn't believe it was actually going to happen. I told Duncan to look around and look at all these people. 80,000 came to see us run down this hill.

What was it like to run down the hill for the first time?
Lowther: We got off the bus and ran up there. It was unbelievable. The crowd was going crazy and we were jumping up and down. I was a little nervous at first going down the hill for the first time. I didn't want to trip or anything. Once I got my first foot on the hill and got my ground I started having fun then. It seems like your on the hill for about 25 seconds but your really only on it for about 3 seconds. Going down was just unbelievable.

What did it feel like to touch Howard's rock for the first time?
Lowther: It was great. I've been coming to games for a lot of years. I've sat on the hill many times. I never touched the rock before because I always told myself that the first time I touch the rock would be the first time I run down the hill. When I finally did touch the rock it was awesome. Some of the guys may take it for granted. It's not just a rock. It's something a lot of great players have touched before. I was getting to be a part of them when I touched it.

What did Tommy tell the team last week about the hill?
Lowther: He told us that football is a team sport. You don't get up on the hill and leave your teammates behind just to say look who I am. He told us this was a tradition that started a long time ago. The seniors would always stand at the top of the hill. There wasn't any laughing on their face. They came to win. He told us nobody ever went in front of the rock until the cannon blew. He said we need to take pride in what the hill is all about and not take it as anything less.

What is the attitude of the team right now?
Lowther: The attitude right now is really about little assignments. Just like the Georgia game. We could have scored some. We could have gotten some more first downs. The running backs could have made a 40 or 50 yard run if it was just for one more block. It's just about the little assignments. We're not that far away. That's what Coach Bowden has been preaching all week. We need to make that little step in practice or doing that little assignment will help us win 10 or 11 games.

What was the team's reaction to Roscoe leaving the team again?
Lowther: Coach Bowden told us that Roscoe came to him and told him he had to leave the team for family issues. We can't let it get the team down. We hope the best for him. Nobody has said a lot about it.

Which players are stepping forward as leaders on the team?
Lowther: Greg Walker is always in the middle and he's always talking. I think he wants to be a leader but he's waiting for the right time to step-up. He's always talking. He wants to be a leader but he's waiting for the right moment. Today it was really inspiring. It was the first time I have seen the team really get up and get loud and break down. Leake ran through all the players today and had his hand up and ran into the middle to break down. It was the loudest I've heard the team so far.

What are you looking forward to for the rest of season?
Lowther: Since I ran down the hill its one of those things where once you get a little bit of it you want some more. I knew coming into the season that walk-ons only get to dress once or twice a year. Before the season I was satisfied with that. Once you get on that bus and you get to run down the hill you want to do it every chance you can. Coach Bowden tells us at practice not to leave the field as the same player when practice is over. I go out to practice every day and I take every throw that I get with the first team in warm-ups to show coach O'Cain that I can throw so hopefully one day I can get to dress for every game.

WR Duncan McLaurin
How did it feel to run down the hill for the first time?
McLaurin: Tell you the truth. I've been waiting for it my whole life. It was one of those dreams you think will never come true. It came true. It probably only took me about 4 seconds to run down the hill but it felt like 40. It was amazing. That's the only word I can think of to describe it. The one word would be amazing.

How did it feel to walk in the locker room and see your jersey?
McLaurin: I didn't take anything for granted. It was an emotional moment in itself. Wow. I couldn't believe it. It was amazing, absolutely amazing. Especially growing up a Clemson fan.

What is the attitude of the team right now?
McLaurin: We want to prove something to somebody. It's overall good. We're getting better. As long as we can get better each week, that's what it's all about. We feel like we have something to prove.

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