HOOVER, Ala. -- Among the various things South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said that raised eyebrows at Southeastern Conference Media Days, one was that Tennessee offensive tackle Antonio 'Tiny' Richardson, one of the most talented juniors in all of college football, gets away with a lot of holding.
On Wednesday, Tiny got a chance to respond.
First, the crux of Clowney's quote: "He is the best at holding and getting away with it. But he does a good job with it. If you don't get called for it, it's not a hold, so I respect it 100 percent." (see the quote in full here).
Richardson, for his part, embraced the appraisal and didn't deny he has a holding trick or two up his sleeve. And he couldn't help but take a little dig at the fact that Clowney is still complaining about a head-to-head matchup that is now more than nine months old.
"I think some of the best offensive linemen can hold and get away with it. Jonathan Ogden, Anthony Munoz, all those guys could hold and get away with it," Richardson said. "I'll take it as a compliment. But sometimes you've got to stop crying and move on."
So how does Richardson avoid the flags?
"You just get your hands inside," he said.
Last year's Tennessee-South Carolina matchup was a clash of two of the college game's elite linemen when Richardson, Tennessee's left tackle, and Clowney squared off in a 38-35 South Carolina win. Richardson handled Clowney effectively for the entire game until 1:08 left, when Clowney beat him to the pocket and caused a fumble that killed a Volunteers rally.
"I watch that game at least once a week. That's my motivation," Richardson said. "... He's 6-6, 270 pounds, and I heard he ran a 4.46. I'd have to see that to believe it. That's freakish. His first step off the ball is crazy. ... He's a great player and I'm looking forward to playing him again."