Tight Ends Ready for Increased Role

Don't think Clemson tight end Cole Downer isn't ready to step into a starting role Saturday night against Texas A&M. He'll be the first to admit he's ready for the challenge.

In a nutshell, what do you have to do on Saturday to beat Texas A&M?
Downer:The big thing for us is that we have to come out and play from the beginning. We've been practicing hard this whole week. If we can come out strong to start with we should be able to do our job.

But how do you come out strong? What do you need to do to make sure you guys are ready to play?
Downer: I think it's more of the leaders taking control of the team. The seniors taking control of the team. It's an attitude really. Every team has a different attitude and we want to get going right from the get go.

Does last year's game weigh in your mind at all?
Downer: Not really. We have new coordinators. It's a completely different team.

It's been talked about a lot this offseason, but are we going to see the use of the tight end more this year in this offense?
Downer: I think so. We can do two tight end, three tight end, four tight end sets. We have a big role this year on the offense. We are more involved in the passing game and blocking.

How important is it for this team to come out and get a win in the first game of the year?
Downer: It's very important. It's important every year. When you start with a win it just gives you a totally different view of the season as opposed to if you start with a loss.

Are you ready to take over as the starting tight end this year?
Downer: Yes sir. I've been working hard this summer. Like they say, 'the season starts in January when the offseason gets going.' I'm really excited to go out there and see what I can do.

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