The Washington Times - October 26, 2007, 10:43AM

\ The senior safety is bright, insightful, gregarious and engaging, a guy with a heck of a future regardless of what he does once he leaves college. He’s also one of the few players you’re certain actually enjoys the give-and-take with reporters. \

\ He’s also honest; not in a tactless, loose cannon way, but in a “I’ve-seen-a-lot-and-this-is-how-it-is” kind of way.\

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\ So there was no one better to ask about Clemson tailback James Davis‘ guarantee of a Tiger victory tomorrow at Maryland than Varner, who chuckled when the topic was brought up earlier this week.\

\ “I saw it, but I just laughed about it,” Varner said. “I don’t know. You just can’t guarantee things in this sport. I would never do that because you just don’t do that. That’s a very immature thing to do, to guarantee something like that.”\

\ At that point, the Official Beat Diva cut in from a few seats away and lamented that she hadn’t asked Varner the same question earlier, prompting another set of laughs before Varner continued.\

\ “It’s such an immature thing to do, definitely,” he said. “If you feel that strong about it, then more power to him. I’m not going to sit and guarantee anything because it’s like ‘any given Sunday.’ It’s any given Saturday.”\

\ I told Varner at this point I figured he would probably have a wary view of such theatrics.\

\ “I saw it and I said ‘Wow, that’s pretty bold, buddy,’” Varner said. “I want to see what you do in the game. I’m going to be looking for him. I’m going to be looking for No. 1. Definitely, I want to see if he can back up that and see what he’s going to bring to the table with all that talk. That’s cool. We like that. It’s sitting in the back of our heads.”\

\ “Like you guys needed to be riled up,” I offered, referencing a last-minute 18-17 loss to Virginia last week.\

\ “Thanks. We needed that,” Varner said. “Good. Like we weren’t mad enough. You’ve just really [ticked] us off now. That’s even better.”\

\ The first lesson in all of this is to not engage Varner in a war of words. You’ll lose. Badly.\

\ Tomorrow, we’ll learn if angering Varner and the rest of a wounded team turns out to be a particularly dangerous game for Davis to play. \

\ – Patrick Stevens