The New Leader

Senior safety Jamaal Fudge talks about everything under the sun, including his role as a senior, the season opener against Texas A&M, and some of the new defensive schemes Clemson fans can expect to see next year in this one-on-one interview with's Toure Francis.

Coming in to your last year at Clemson, what kind of player do you want to be known as?
Fudge: A consistent, productive, player who never complains and just gets his job done.

What does it mean to you to be a senior this year?
Fudge: My role on the team, now that I'm a senior, means that I have to focus more on bringing the young guys along with me. This means getting them wanting to play at the best of their ability, and just making sure they play at a high energy.

What are your thoughts about the Clemson experience in general?
Fudge: Clemson is a great place to play football; The Hill, the game day atmosphere, it's something that's just one of a kind. So next year, if I just make sure I'm consistent every-game by playing at an All-American level, not in a selfish manner but doing the most I can to help my team win, next year should be an exciting time.

Describe to be me your perfect senior season.
Fudge: A perfect season would be having the best athletes, everybody playing hard, and we go out there and just shut every opponent down. And if we get to play in the national championship game, it couldn't get any better than that.

What do you think you need to improve on from last year?
Fudge: From a defensive standpoint, last year we had too many missed tackles, sometimes we would have a lack of effort, sometimes everybody wouldn't be in an "all out, all the time" mode. That means we weren't always on one accord, and so sometimes we weren't focused on what we had to do.

You've got a new defensive coordinator this year, plus some young guys stepping in at key positions. Is it your job to make sure people know what's going on?
Fudge: I think all the help we need will come from the seniors when it comes to that. There are a lot of guy's playing for the first time who are just stepping into this fast-pasted atmosphere and it's a lot different from practice. I look to myself and the other seniors to pull everyone along.

Talk about some of the schemes you think we'll see next year from the defense.
Fudge: The scheme looks like it's kind of based on taking away the pass, where the corners and the safeties keeping everything in front. We (the secondary) have a bunch of guys who can play. Even newcomers like Chris Clemons have stepped up. We beefed up the middle of the defense and have some quick guys coming off the end, so we should get some penetration and a lot of pressure. If we can make the other team one dimensional, we can pin our ears back and let loose."

Any thoughts about your season opener against Texas A&M?
Fudge: They're a good team, their quarterback is probably the hardest guy I've had to try to tackle. We should be ready though. We want to be a top ten defense in the country, and number one in the conference. Hopefully, every game we can get better and achieve these goals. Top Stories