Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Cotton Bowl | Coney Excited To Square Up With Etienne

December 26, 2018

DALLAS - Notre Dame linebacker Te’von Coney spoke the company line on Wednesday morning as the Irish continue to prepare for Clemson in the Cotton Bowl on December 29th. 

The 6-foot-1, 240-pounder acknowledged the Tigers are a great program, but it’s also the College Football Playoff. 

“Their offense is really awesome,” stated Coney. “They have a lot of playmakers. To have a team like that, it comes with problems. They're going to really challenge us. We understand that. That motivates us to be our best and execute our game plan the coaches put together to be in the right places to succeed.”

However, one name kept coming up with Notre Dame’s defensive players on Wednesday. 

Travis Etienne. 

The sophomore running back has rushed for 1,463 yards and 21 touchdowns while averaging 8.3 yards per carry this fall. 

What makes the 5-foot-10, 200-pounder so dangerous? 

“He’s very fast and has great eyes,” explained Coney. “You give him a lane to cut into, and he's going to cut into it. He's a great player. He has great feet, and he can get to the edge in a hurry. He's a great player.” 

In addition to the speed and vision, Etienne also runs much bigger than his size. 

“He breaks a lot of tackles, looks like he has a short, lower body,” Coney explained. “It's going to be hard to bring him down. We're prepared. We'll do everything we can to go out on Saturday to win. We respect those guys. We know that they have talent on that side of the ball, but it motivates you to work harder.”

Clemson will have to deal with Coney, who recorded 107 tackles and 9.0 tackles for loss this season, so there could be fireworks when the Tigers have the ball.

“They’re explosive and can score in a hurry,” Coney said. “They have great receivers, and a great running back. It's really hard to relax. You have to play hard all game because they're really good and they can put a lot of pressure on you.” 

If the Irish can contain Etienne, it will put even more pressure on freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who has been anything but a freshman. 

“He looks like an older guy,” said Coney. “He looks very comfortable in their system. He looks like he's been in the system for years where he knows to make the checks. He knows where to get the balls for certain plays and understands downs. He's a complete player at a young age, which is very impressive.” 

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