Quick Hits with Tommy Sharpe

Clemson offensive lineman Tommy Sharpe talks about Saturday's game against the Florida State Seminoles.

It seems like the general consensus from Saturday's game is that the offensive line was pushed around a little bit. Is now the time where you just have to take a stand and say that you are going to let that happen anymore?
Sharpe: I think there were plays maybe where they had the upperhand on us, and then plays where we had the upperhand of them. We always we need to say we need to step up and take control of the game as an offensive line. You know, as an offensive line a lot of times we get the burden of the failure on our backs. Give it to us, we deserve it. Because if we don't block, the plays aren't made. A lot of times it's making stupid mistakes that really hurts. We have to eliminate those and we'll be alright.

Is this team in panic mode yet?
Sharpe: Maybe we should be. I mean, you pissed off when you don't do good, but everybody does that. But we aren't panicing. There's no reason to panic. We've been here before. We've been down and out before. But we know we have the potential to play. We've done it before. Right now we just need to step up to the challenge.

Want to ask you about the crowd this past week at Texas A&M. It's been a big discussion on our web site...did the crowd at Texas A&M limit the production of the offense in anyway last weekend?
Sharpe: I don't think so. Maybe we might not hear as soon as the play is called when we go no-huddle, but all you have to do then is look to one of the guards and ask them what he called. If anything, I like a hostile environment. In a violent, agressive sport like football, why wouldn't you want 80,000 people screaming at you or screaming for you? Really, the A&M crowd was one of the most polite and respectful fans I've seen. The people there had a lot of class.

It seemed like Coach Bowden was being challenged some this week by the media about the offensive line through the first three games of the season. What are your thoughts on how you guys can improve?
Sharpe: As a senior, I look at it as my fault. Maybe I haven't done what I need to do. Maybe I haven't played as well as I need to play. I hope everybody thinks that. I haven't slept well since the game because you get mad, you get frustrated. You know, I'm a senior, I lost to Georgia Tech the last time I played them. I lost to Texas A&M the only time I'm ever going to play them. It frustrates you, but I know I've had games where I've played well and I just have to get back to that level. And I can.

Can you take anything away from last year's game against Florida State in preparing for them this week?
Sharpe: We beat Georgia Tech last year, and we lost to them. Wake Forest beat us last year, but we beat them this year. Last year was a whole different team, different leadership, and different players that made plays. If you focus on last year, you are going to get embarrassed. It's up to us now because the seniors last year stepped up to the challenge. Now we've got to do the same thing this season.

Are you putting extra pressure on yourself to step into that leadership role this year?
Sharpe: I try to lead by my actions. Everybody can go out and rah-rah, and say this and say that. To me, the best form of leadership is me making my block and not being a screw up. (laughing)

Coach Bowden talked a little bit this week about Barry Richardson getting more playing time this week and Roman Fry now starting at right guard. Can you comment on those moves? Do you agree with those moves?
Sharpe: I think a lot of players that have been put in on the second team have stepped up and played well. Dustin Fry has played well when he's gone in. Barry Richardson is one of the most talented guys on the field, he just needs the reps. That one play (where he gave up the sack) was a mental mistake. Those things happen to freshmen. The only way to cure that is to give him more reps. I mean, you don't want to get on him, becuase the guy has more ability than anybody out there. He's blessed with one of the best bodies you could have as an offensive tackle.

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