Monday Clemson Football Notebook

CLEMSON – Nearly every college football team in the nation generally has to worry about senioritis, which is when the seniors on the team start looking toward their future away from college and focus on staying healthy as opposed to going all out for a victory.

Apparently Clemson was infected with it last year.

According to at least two players on this year's team, the seniors were all but mentally gone following the loss last year to Virginia Tech. One even said the term "mailed it in" was appropriate.

"It seemed like it, for real," junior receiver Tyler Grisham said. "There wasn't enthusiasm." Junior star tailback James Davis backed up what Grisham had to say.

"I overheard some people saying those guys were thinking more to the NFL (instead) of thinking about the team at the end of the year," Davis said. "Especially going to the bowl game, I don't know if those guys were really focused on going against Kentucky."

The reason the actions of last year's team are relevant to this season is because it should be interesting to see how this team reacts following such a poor performance.

The loss last year at Virginia Tech sent the team into a tailspin from which it never recovered. However, they don't think that will happen this year.

"This year we don't have as many seniors and it's easier to motivate these guys and get these guys prepared for the game," Davis said. "These guys on the team right now, everybody wants to win."

Grisham couldn't agree more.

"I think the types of players we have this year are different than last year," he said. "We have less seniors that contributing. We had a lot of seniors last year that were the big guys and leaders. This year we have guys that are enthusiastic and younger."

Grisham also added that what happened last year in Blacksburg is completely different from what transpired in Atlanta two days ago.

"We understand that we're a different team and that we can't let what happened last year happen to us this year because we're so much better than we were," he said. "(Saturday) was different than last year at Virginia Tech because we know we cut ourselves, but Virginia Tech beat us last year. … We should have won Saturday."

CASE OF THE DROPS: Clemson receivers dropped about 10 passes Saturday, which left the coaching staff befuddled. The usually sure-handed players had hands of stone against Yellow Jackets.

It left Grisham, who said he had at least three drops, searching for answers, too.

"It was pretty amazing," he said. "Sometimes you're going to have a receiver that just has a bad day, but a few receivers not playing like they usually do was just weird. It's unexpected and disappointing."

MORE ON DAVIS: Davis said he sustained a stinger in his left shoulder against Georgia Tech, but that it wasn't anything that prevented him from getting the ball more. He's currently getting treatment on his ailing shoulder and he expects to be fully healthy again by Saturday.

"I thought I probably should have gotten a few more carries," he said. "The coaches make the decisions. I'm just trying to do whatever it takes."

Because Saturday's game against the Hokies is so huge in Clemson's hopes of a division title, Davis said he hoping for some magical powers to give the Tigers any type of advantage.

"We definitely need this win real bad," he said. "I'm definitely hoping we wear all purple because we need this win."

SPECIAL TEAMS: Punter Jimmy Maners said the play of the special teams hasn't been all that special and that it needs to turn around quickly because of the reputation Virginia Tech is known for in that area.

"We've just got to get everything clicking on special teams, whether it's an individual performance or it's a team effort kind of thing," he said. "We've just got to get it going on special teams because as you see on Saturdays, it's a big part of the game for sure. …

"I'm not real sure what kind of schemes they have, but I know in the past they've been a special teams powerhouse. I guarantee their special teams coordinator or coaches will have stuff planned and switch some things up. I don't what they'll do specifically, but I know they'll have some looks and come up with some ideas to try and have a good special teams game."

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