SEC Media Days: Tiny shines.

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Updated: July 17, 2013

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BIRMINGHAM—Yesterday during SEC Media Days, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was asked about the offensive tackles he faced last year and responded, “The guy from Michigan was pretty good. The guy from Tennessee (Tiny Richardson) was pretty good. That’s about it.”

Well I asked Tiny about Clowney’s comments and he was candid as usual.

Q: Tiny you heard Clowney’s comments yesterday, he said “the guy at Michigan was pretty good the guy at Tennessee was pretty good” but he didn’t call you by your name. What’s your reaction to that?

Tiny Richardson: It is what it is. I give credit where credit is due. Clowney’s a great player, I mean to be able to run a 4.46 (40-yard dash) at 265-270? That’s outrageous right there. But I give him his credit. I think that good players step up when you need to step up and last year I stepped up and I’m looking forward to the matchup this year.

During my follow-up question, he got very, very serious.

Q: Do you still have that date on your calendar circled?

Tiny Richardson: I have it on my calendar circled. I watch, I swear to you, I’m not just talking right now, I watch that whole film once a week, cause I’m trying to break him down, every single movement that he does I’m trying to break him down 100%.

I can’t recall an offensive lineman being so vocal about an opponent. I can’t recall an offensive lineman watching film of the same game every week, nor can I recall an offensive tackle/defensive end matchup that will be as highly touted as the Richardson vs. Clowney battle this season.

Richardson wants to be the best and to beat the best, and it’s exactly that kind of mentality that Tennessee has been missing the last few seasons. “I see myself as the best lineman in the conference. I gotta give a shout-out to Cyrus (Kouandjio) and the Matthews guy from A&M, they’re great tackles, but in order to be the best you have to see yourself as the best. So I see myself as the best tackle in the conference.”

When asked about his goals for the season, both for the team and him individually, he cited lofty targets as expected.

“Win the SEC East, win the SEC, and try to get to a national championship. Individually for me? All-American, All-SEC, win the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy.”

The Vols may not be near a championship level yet, but it sure is refreshing to hear players confidently proclaim bold goals. As Richardson said, “in order to be the best you have to see yourself as the best.”

More coming from SEC Media Days later this afternoon.

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