Simmons Preaching the Positives

"It's my job go out every week to play to the best of my ability," said Willie Simmons. "If I'm not doing that, then it's the coaches decision to make a change. All I have to do is go out and play as hard as I can every week and hopefully good things will happen."

How have things been going for you this week?
Simmons: Just like any other week after a loss. You watch the game on Sunday and see what mistakes you made and just try to put the game behind you and get ready for the next game.

Do you feel any different pressures that you didn't feel earlier in the year because of how things turned out on Saturday?
Simmons: I think the whole team is feeling pressure from within to really perform and really play every game to the best of our ability. Of course, I'm feeling pressure to perform better, but as a group we know we have to perform better as a team.

What about the potential quarterback controversy?
Simmons: I never let things like that consume me. It's my job go out every week to play to the best of my ability. If I'm not doing that, then it's the coach's decision to make a change. All I have to do is go out and play as hard as I can every week and hopefully good things will happen. If not we feel like we have a capable guy behind me if need be. I'm not worried about a quarterback controversy or anything like that.

Do feel as though it's unfair to blame you for the loss last week?
Simmons: Anytime you lose a ballgame, aside from the head coach and the assistants, the quarterback is going take the blame. I learned to live with that after playing the quarterback position for so long. I know that anytime a team loses the burden will fall directly on the quarterback whether I played good or played sub par. Nobody looks at the individual performance, it's a team effort. When the offense doesn't put points on the board, no matter how many yards you produce or how many passes you complete people are going to say the quarterback played bad. I've got to learn to live that and put it behind and come back next week.

Is it better to the backup in this situation like you were with Woody, or is it better sitting in your shoes right now?
Simmons: Both positions are nerve wracking. As a starter, you hear people from all angles saying all kinds of different things, and as a backup you hear people saying that you should be in there. Woody and I did a great job of not letting it cause controversy between us and I think Charlie and I have a good enough relationship between us that we can continue to not to let it effect our play or the team's play.

Is the back up quarterback the most popular guy in the world?
Simmons: I definitely believe that. At times Woody was going through the same situation. If he didn't' have a four or five-hundred yard offensive game people always were yelling to put the back ups end. There are 82,000 head coaches in Clemson so every week they are going to have their input, but we can't worry about that we just have to play football.

Has Coach Bowden pulled you aside this week?
Simmons: We haven't had much time to talk since the game Saturday. I did meet with Coach O'Cain about the situation but I don't think they feel like that it lowered my confidence. You always get upset anytime you are taken out of a ballgame, but I'm mature enough guy to know that it just wasn't my day. It gave Charlie a chance to get in and get some quality reps and do some positive things. You never take negatives out of things; you just take positives so I just look at that as taking out the positives.

Do you expect the coaches will talk to you about holding onto the football in order to prevent fumbles
Simmons: Well they'll just say that whenever you carry the ball trying to make things happen, that I have to do a better job of protecting the ball. The three fumbles I've had the last two games were hits by defensive linemen coming from behind. Those are mostly when fumbles occur: when you have people are coming from behind when you don't seen them and you're not carrying the ball as tight as you should if you were getting ready for a head on collision. I just have to be more conscious of holding the ball tight at all times and protecting the ball when I run.

Has the staff talked to you about the quarterback role this week? Is Charlie currently in the game plan?
Simmons: All I know is that I'm the starter. If they want to work Charlie in some series' this week I can't complain about that. Whenever I'm in the game I need to make the most of it, and make things happen. If they feel they need to work Charlie in then I'll be right there to support him, just like I was with Woody the past couple of years. We aren't worrying about who's playing or when we're playing, we're just both trying to go out and do the things to make our team better.

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