Q&A with John Leake

"We want to go to a January bowl," said Clemson linebacker John Leake about his team's chances for the rest of the season. "We think that if we can stay positive and win these next five games, we'll be right up there. We've got to take one game at a time."

What do you remember about the last time you faced North Carolina?
Leake: Not much really. I remembered we played well against them and that's about it. I don't really think about last year or the year before that. I'm just trying to go out there and play hard.

Do you still feel like you have a lot to play for, even with a couple of losses now in the conference?
Leake: We want to go to a January bowl. We think that if we can stay positive and win these next five games, we'll be right up there. We've got to take one game at a time. We've got North Carolina this week and we'll just try and do the best we can. I've watched them on film, and I think those guys really play well. Good running back, good quarterback, good offensive line, they've played really well on offense.

The offense has struggled some times this year to put up the normal amount of points that we are used to seeing from this team. Do you feel like that's putting extra pressure on the defense to step up and perform?
Leake: No. We are just trying to do the best we can on defense and get the offense the ball as much as possible. We know that if we do our job and get the offense the ball, they're going to put up some points.

Big fumble recovery for you last weekend against N.C. State, walk me through that play.
Leake: We were on a blitz, and I guess Eric Coleman hit the quarterback, I was right there on the verge of hitting him, but then I saw the ball fall out. I jumped on it, and then I missed it, and then made sure I got it the second time. Don't want to miss those fumbles.

Your career is kind of winding down a little bit, what are you going to miss most about playing football at Clemson.
Leake: Well I still have a couple of games left, but I know what you mean. I'll probably miss my teammates and the coaches and the fans and the atmosphere the most I would say. It's not over yet, though. I've still got 5 more games to go and hopefully a bowl game too.

What kind of problems will Darian Durant present this defense on Saturday?
Leake: Great quarterback. He's kind of like how Woody was, he can run and can throw accurately. You have to gang tackle him, read his keys, and know that he's going to try and run the football. We have to take good angles, and make sure we hit him whenever he decides to get out of the pocket.

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