Leake Ready for Florida State

An open date couldn't come at a better time for the Tigers. An extra week to heal some of the injuries that have plagued the team all season, as well as the extra time to prepare for the Seminoles are just two of the benefits of a week off. Hear what linebacker John Leake had to say about the Tigers' off week and FSU in this report.

LB John Leake Profile

With the number one ranked defense in the Atlantic Coast Conference headed into an open date, LB John Leake and the rest of the Tigers are clearly focused on one goal- beating Florida State.

Never the less, the open date comes at a good time, especially considering the injuries this team has suffered through this season.

"It's the perfect time for a week off, especially with Nick going down last week," said Leake. "It gives him a little time to rehab and get better before the Florida State game, plus we have a little extra time to prepare which is always a plus."

Clemson hasn't beaten their ACC rival since 1989, and after a somewhat disappointing performance last week against Ball State, some experts are questioning whether the Tigers have enough fire power to do it.

Don't tell that to John Leake.

"As a defense we played very well last with the exception of that first drive. If you take that one drive out they didn't do anything else. In fact, I don't even think they crossed the 50-yard line after that," said Leake.

"It just goes to show you that we can't ever let up. When we know we can't let up especially against Florida State- we need to be perfect and that's what we are always striving for," added Leake.

Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles facing a team when playing in Doak-Campbell Stadium is confidence. Most teams play against the Seminoles with mentality of just keeping the score close. For the first time in probably 10 years, the Tigers feel as though they can play with Florida State on both sides of the ball.

"We feel real confident. As a defense, we feel like we can compete with any team in the nation. Right now we just can't get cocky or over confidant. We have to go out there and shut them down, cause turnovers and give the offense the ball in good field position," said Leake.

The Tigers have already faced one top-10 team on the road this season, and even though the results weren't exactly what the Tigers were looking for, playing in that kind of environment should help the team prepare for what lies ahead in Tallahassee.

"Playing Georgia on the road will help some of the younger guys, but most of us have played Florida State before, we know what it's like. Florida State is a great place to play, and it would be a great place to win," said Leake.

The Tigers have already proved that their defense is one of the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, but the ultimate challenge is still lurking on the schedule.

The Clemson football program won't be "back" in the estimation of most experts until the Tigers can beat Florida State and prove that they are the better team. In fact, it may not even be enough to beat the Seminoles in Death Valley, they may have to do it at Doak-Campbell Stadium to convince the rest of the college football world that there is more than one football school in the ACC.

"If you can beat Florida State in Tallahassee then you are a pretty good team, and that's what we are out to prove," said Leake. "We just need to stay focused on the task at hand and get job done down there."

The Tigers still have a lot to prove this season, and it all starts in 9 days in front of a national television audience in one of the most hostile environments in the country.

"We'll be ready," said Leake.

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