Q&A with Jeff Scott

If you happened to be watching the Clemson-South Carolina game from 1996 Monday night on ESPN Classic, you may have seen something that might make you sit down and think a little bit. Jeff Scott reached up to hug his father, former USC head coach Brad Scott, as the Gamecocks held on to beat the Tigers 34-31 in Death Valley.

Senior wide receiver Jeff Scott will run down the hill for the final time Saturday night as the Clemson Tigers and South Carolina Gamecocks do battle for the 100th time in this historic college football rivalry.

Scott, who used to be a diehard South Carolina fan while his father was the head coach there, is truly one of the few people that has successfully made the switch from one school to the other. Scott commented on that and much more in Tuesday's weekly press conference in Clemson.

Jeff, you are one of the few people that can really claim to be on both sides of the rivalry, do you believe that Clemson has better fans than South Carolina?
Scott: The two schools are very similiar, of course I know fans from South Carolina won't agree and fans from Clemson won't agree with that. Not many people can go from being die hard Gamecock to diehard Clemson unless you've been through what I have. It just doesn't happen. Being on both sides, I think they are two very similar schools and I think that's why it has become such a great rivalry- because the two schools are so equal.

What's your dad's mood like at home right now?
Scott: He's a lot more worried about our offense right now then he's worried about any relation with the Clemson-Carolina rivalry. He's worried about getting our offense into a position where we have a chance to be successful in this game. A few years ago we might have joked around a lot about it or taked about it, but with the offense this year, he's really worried about getting the offense corrected.

It's still bizarre though you switching from Carolina to Clemson like that, did you need any kind of therapy?
Scott: (laughing) I think they were 1-10 or 0-11 that first year so that was pretty good therapy. I think it's interesting to note that Lou Holtz's record after 4 years is just about even with what my dad did there his first four years. You know all that stuff is gone though, there's no hatred or animosity at all. It just adds to the rivalry and really that's what football is all about.

Is this one of the most fun games for you to prepare for each year?
Scott: Yeah, I was thinking about that the other day. On all our games, on the bus on the way here, I've always thought about what I'd feel like riding to the Carolina game. It's been in the back of my mind ever since the beginning of the year. Especially with this being my last year and me moving to Columbia, we have to win this game or I'll never hear the end of it. It's definitely an important game, but there's nothing magical you can do other than to go out and have a good week of practice to put you over the top.

What was last year like after losing for the first time coming here?
Scott: It was tough, but I'm not too naive to think that we were going to win all 4 of the games while I was here. But I think they probably had the better team last year, and we'll see who has the better team this year and who plays better Saturday night- that's why you play the game.

Is there anything worse than losing to South Carolina?
Scott: No- I don't think so. Especially for everybody that lives in state. This is the game everybody kind of judges their career on. If you talk to Will Merritt, he'd probably tell you that he hate it that he lost to USC his senior year. I know for me that this has been the one with the star beside it every year.

Go ahead and tell us about all the fake field goals you'll be a part of this week.
Scott: Yeah, we've been saving them up for the last several years. (laughing) Of course ya'll haven't seen the ones where I'll come out passing any. I'll probably coming out passing on several occasions. Nah, to be honest, we haven't talked anything about that. South Carolina does a good job on their field goal block team and I don't think we'll see any trick plays Saturday.

Jeff Scott will move to Columbia after he graduates next May to take an assistant coach's (QB Coach) position at Ridge View High School. He is also set to be married the following month.

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