Casey Thompson is no stranger to playing in front of large crowds.
Thompson spent last season as Nebraska’s starting quarterback, before transferring to Florida Atlantic to be reunited with head coach Tom Herman, who is in his first season coaching the Owls. He spent his first four seasons at Texas, playing for Herman.
This will be his first time playing at Clemson, though, and the veteran signal caller is very much looking forward to the experience. While Thompson knows to expect a raucous crowd, he also knows once the ball is kicked off, it’s still just a football game.
“The atmosphere is something. It’s a pretty cool experience to be in those kinds of stadiums,” Thompson said. “So really the main thing is inside the game, when the game starts, you have to manage your emotions and really hear yourself think and have positive self-talk.”
While he has never played at Death Valley, Thompson is fairly familiar with Dabo Swinney’s program, as the quarterback took multiple visits to the school during his recruiting process.
“I was getting recruited by Clemson back when I was in high school,” Thompson said. “They were I think like the third or fourth team to reach out and pursue while I was a sophomore in high school. So, I took a few trips down to Clemson, South Carolina. And it’s a really good place. Everyone there is a Clemson Tiger fan.
While Thompson loves playing in front of large crowds, he likes it that much more when his team faces a lively crowd away from home.
“I’m excited. I enjoy college football and I love it when the stadium is packed out,” Thompson said. “My favorite way to play games like this is on the road. Because when you go on the road, there’s a lot of crowd noise and you’re feeling it. Like being the bad guy coming in and trying to take something from them.”
The Owls come in sitting at 1-1. After downing Monmouth in the season opener, Florida Atlantic fell 17-10 at home to Ohio. The offense managed just five rushing yards in last week’s loss, while also allowing three sacks, and Thompson knows the Owls will need a much better performance to even have a shot a pulling off the upset.
“On defense, I think that they’ve shown that they can do a lot of different things,” he said. “They’re very well coached. Some good returning starters back there. And, with Clemson you always have to expect you’re gonna get their best shot, you know, just like any other team you go out against on Saturday. This week we’re trying not to focus too much on Clemson and what they’re doing. Our goal this week is just trying to get better on offense and just make another step as a team.”
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