Clemson center Will Putnam has experienced a number of tough road venues during his time in college. The fifth-year senior said Monday that Williams-Brice Stadium and South Carolina is as good as it gets.
“It’s a great environment. It’s probably the best road environment, I think, that I’ve played in,” Putnam said. “Always loud. People are always there. … Yea, it’s awesome, and I think that’s what makes college football so special and just those rivalries and stuff like that.”
Putnam will be making his third trip to Williams-Brice Stadium this weekend and is looking to improve to 3-0 in games at South Carolina during his career.
Before making his first trip to Columbia prior to the 2019 season, he was given some advice that he is passing on to younger players this year.
“Keep your helmet on. And that’s something that has stuck with me ever since,” Putnam said. “So any game, at the end of the game, win or lose, I always keep my helmet on when I’m running off the field. Yea, I mean they have their net, and people are still throwing stuff, trying to get through it. I like it.”
Putnam and his Clemson teammates obviously enjoy playing at Death Valley, but he said there’s something special about going on the road and getting a big win, particularly over your rival.
When most of the crowd is against you, it makes it more enjoyable.
“I really enjoy when people are booing you really loud. I think that’s really fun, too. I mean I think that’s just as fun as when people are cheering you on. I love the boos. I think it’s awesome,” Putnam said. “It kind of gets me going a little bit. And Sandstorm, playing that at practice all week. It’s just that week, it’s awesome. It’s what makes everything fun.”
While Putnam is 2-0 in Columbia, he lost his most recent matchup with the Gamecocks as South Carolina stunned Clemson last year in Death Valley.
That game still hurts Putnam, but the pain will be much less if the Tigers can get a win this weekend.
“Just being so close and losing,” Putnam said of what he remembers most about last year’s game. “We had multiple opportunities to win the football game. And we just didn’t execute it. On those certain plays where we needed it, they got it. So I think it’s definitely something that you flush it, but you don’t forget it. You’ve gotta move on, but you can’t forget it.”