By Jonathan Gantt / Clemson Athletic Communications
Though they won't play the season opener until August 30, Cole Stoudt and Vic Beasley were under the bright lights a lot sooner. Sunday began the ACC Kickoff event in Greensboro, N.C., and that meant a full day of media interviews for the two Tigers.
Chosen as the offensive and defensive reps for Clemson, Stoudt and Beasley spoke with members of the print and electronic media and did private one-on-one interviews with various local and national media outlets throughout the day. All told, they spoke to more than 100 hundred media members and appeared on dozens of outlets.
Full quotes from Stoudt and Beasley's press conferences are below—questions for Cole focused on him becoming the starter after playing behind Tajh Boyd for three years and his expectations for an offense that looks quite a bit different from the 2013 squad. Meanwhile, Vic described his opinion that the Clemson defense can be the "best in the country" and spoke about his opportunities to step up as a senior leader.
Obviously, playing football in the ACC is difficult. But doing back-to-back interviews from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. isn't easy either. "It was exhausting," said Beasley with a smile.
Just 41 days until Vic and the Tigers get to stop talking and start playing.
Main ACC Kickoff page: http://theacc.co/14ACCkickoff
Cole Stoudt Quotes
On being the starter: "I've never been more excited in my life. Playing behind Tajh Boyd for three years made me a better player. I learned to be a leader. Now I just can't wait to play and get the season started."
On the pressure of following Tajh Boyd: "I don't focus on the pressure. I try to focus on the positive things that I can control. I learned so much from Tajh, on and off the field, most important how to be a leader. And now I'm excited to take what I learned and put it into practice."
On expectations: The seniors from last year, they've all set a standard for Clemson. ...They've set a goal, we want to go above it. Even though we've lost a few guys, we still have many veterans on the team that have been in this for four years, both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball."
On his style of play: "I'm going to do the best that I possibly can. I'm very comfortable with the situation I'm in. I've always been a relaxed kind of guy that goes out there and operates the system and plays the best I possibly can. The past couple years, every time I went in, I always maximized my opportunities. Last year I think I did that the best. I set a couple records for accuracy and passing efficiency, and I'm very proud of that, but I also have to continue to keep getting better, myself better and the team. I kind of just go in there, have some fun with it, relax, and just go with my reads one at a time and just operate the system.
On Clemson's defense: I'm very impressed with what I've seen for the summer of the defense. Vic, he's been doing a great job, Stephone, Grady, all of them over there, they've been getting the defense going, and it's going to be a very exciting year for the defense. They've been working hard all summer. They've been pushing the offense every day, too, and they're a team that wants the rest of the team better, not just the defense. They're constantly getting each other better. If we mess up on offense, they get on us. If they mess up on defense, we get on them. It's a two-way sway and it kind of goes back and forth and they just want the best out of us and they've been improving a lot this summer.
Vic Beasley Quotes
On the defense's mentality: Last year we had a big chip on our shoulder as a defense, and the year before that we came into the year with a chip on our shoulder. A lot of people thought that we was the weak link of the team, so we came into that season last year with a chip on our shoulder, and we were just ready to make a statement to the country. I feel like that's what we did last year, and we're looking to do the same thing this year.
On his role as a leader on the team: "This year I look to be a more vocal leader than I do a leader by example on the field. I feel like the experience that I have has really been good to my team, and they need my vocal leadership now."
On his expectations for the defense: "I think we have the potential to be the best defense in the country. With the experience up front like we have with guys like Grady Jarrett, Corey Crawford, just to name a few, and then our linebackers Stephone Anthony and Tony Steward, I feel like the guys on the front seven are capable of being very beneficial to the team this year, and I feel like we have the ability to be the top defense in the country this year."
On his personal goals: "I feel like I could. My goals for this year is really to win the National Championship and be the best influence my team needs. It's to lead my teammates and leave a legacy at Clemson University."