South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney fired the first shot of the season at Clemson, and we are only in July.
It is on!
"I can tell Tajh Boyd is scared back there. He ain't no sitting duck, but you can see in his eyes that he's scared of our D-linemen."
"We know that coming into the game that we have him shook already. We get a couple hits on him and it changes the whole game. He's scared every time we play them. I know he's probably listening to this right now, but I'm just telling the truth, man."
One more ...
"You can look at a guy and tell that he's scared. If he's staring at me before the ball is snapped and he's staring at me every play before the ball is snapped, oh we got him. I tell the players that he's shook."
Clowney had a monster game against the Tigers last year, with a career-high 4.5 sacks on Boyd. The matchup between the two preseason Heisman hopefuls to close out the regular season is one of the most highly anticipated on the schedule. No question Clemson is feeling the heat to end its losing streak to South Carolina. Given the Gamecocks' recent results in the series and his performance last year, Clowney can talk all the trash he wants. I can think of at least one player who is scared of him.
It's not Boyd. At least not to coach Dabo Swinney, who responded to the comments Tuesday evening following a golf event.
"I don't think Tajh Boyd is scared of anybody," Swinney told local reporters.
Is Boyd quaking in his cleats right now? I doubt that.
But he did have a pretty miserable game against Clowney and the Gamecocks last year. Everybody in the state of South Carolina and across the country knows for Clemson to beat its hated in-state rivals, Boyd has to rise up and the Tigers have to shut Clowney down. Clowney is clearly confident he will have a repeat performance.
The pressure is on Boyd and the Tigers.