Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
By Marc Torrence, Gannett Tennessee
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said there were two players in the country who could block him last season.
"The guy from Michigan was pretty good," he said. "And the guy from Tennessee was pretty good."
"The guy from Tennessee" is tackle Antonio "Tiny" Richardson, who is anything but. The 6-foot-6, 327-pound Richardson held Clowney in check for much of the Volunteers' 38-35 loss to South Carolina, save for one game-changing play.
With Tennessee down by 3 and in the red zone, Clowney blew by Richardson and sacked Tyler Bray, forcing a fumble and ending the Volunteers' best chance to win the game in the fourth quarter.
"No lie, I'm not just saying this because I'm in front of you guys: I watch that film at least once a week," said Richardson, a former Ensworth standout. "I try to watch that game at least once a week because that's my motivation."
"He thinks about it every day," UT tackle Ju'Wuan James said. "Me and him have watched that film over and over. He's just working toward letting nothing like that happen ever again."
Richardson allowed two sacks all year -- the other being against Vanderbilt. He's been named to numerous preseason All-SEC and All-America lists, and his size makes him one of Tennessee's most recognizable stars.
And he's using one play against South Carolina as his motivation for the entire season.
"I think when you want to be the best, you always think about one or two plays that made a difference," new UT coach Butch Jones said. "Tiny talks about that play all the time."
Richardson and Clowney will meet once more before both of the rising juniors likely become top NFL draft picks. Tennessee hosts South Carolina on Oct. 19.
"We talk about that mindset of a champion, having that championship endurance," Jones said. "One bad play can be the difference between winning and losing."