ESPNs broadcast team of Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer, David Pollack and Sam Ponder are in town for Thursdays game between No. 6 South Carolina and North Carolina. We recently caught up with Ponder and Pollack to get their views on the game and on some key personnel.
Q: How excited are you to come back to Williams-Brice Stadium?
A: Its why I love college football. These kinds of environments, a guy theyre talking a Heisman about. Thats why I love this job. In my opinion, when those guys run out of the tunnel, its one of the most exciting entrances in college football.
Q: Jadeveon Clowney has drawn quite a bit of attention already. Will ESPN keep a camera on him tonight?
A: Hes a star. I sat next to him at the ESPYs. Hes just special. Ask any coach, ask Mark Richt, theyll tell you, thats the easy story line. Hes a straight-up stud, a star from the beginning. Well keep an eye on him the whole game.
Q: ESPN certainly likes Steve Spurrier to open the season. What makes him that magnet?
A: It doesnt get any better than the Spurrier interview. He keeps you on your toes. It doesnt matter how much thought theyve put into it, some coaches will say the same things every time. Spurrier is not going to follow that line. You ask, Coach, hows it going? and you get a story. I certainly appreciate his honesty and openness. He makes it more fun.
Q: Any predictions?
A: I try to stay away from the predictions. It gets out of hand. Thats the fun thing about college football, its not as predictable as some of the NFL stuff. Im telling you, if a guy gets broken up with his girlfriend the night before the game, it can have a serious impact. There are so many X-factors.
Q: Youre one of the best defensive ends (at Georgia) to ever play in the SEC. Is Clowney that kind of game-changer?
Yeah. Youre not supposed to be 6-7, 260 and be able to move like that. Its not legal, quite frankly. The explosiveness and pure speed, its impressive. You dont see many guys that just have that. I think he improved a lot from his freshman and sophomore year, specifically against the run. If he can play with a consistent edge and play hard every down, theres no one that can think about stopping him.
Q: How hard is it to play 100 percent all the time?
A: The only way to do it is if you practice like it. You cant show up on Saturdays and play your butt off, 100 miles an hour, like a Tasmanian Devil, unless you do it in practice every single day. Its where its got to start, and its where you got to build that base to where it needs to be in games.
Q: How do you think hes handling it?
A: I think (at SEC Media Days) he was kind of like, Whatever, Ill say whatever I feel, Ill call quarterbacks scared or whatever. Theres a lot of different ways to skin a cat, and I think everybody handles things different. He knows hes great. Hes not staying for his senior year. I think hes done a good job of being who he is.
Q: Will he break your sack total (36, fourth in SEC history)?
A: Oh, yeah. Are you kidding? Yeah. You can go ahead and count it broken. Hes twice the athlete I was. Hes way better than I could ever dream about being.
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