|by David Hood|
Quarterback Tajh Boyd said he knows, however, that the New Year’s Eve contest against one of the nation’s top programs offers the program the chance to show that the Tigers’ record simply isn’t a product of a weak schedule.
Body and Swinney both spoke as part of Clemson’s press conference festivities with the bowl reps Friday in the WestZone, and Boyd said he is looking forward to another chance to face a Top 10 team.
“This is a chance to redeem ourselves, a chance to go out there and prove we can compete and we belong,” Boyd said to the media. “They are a big-time program, a consistent program. This is a great opportunity for us. This is a chance to go out there and play our best game. This is another opportunity for us to go out there and show the type of team we are.”
Swinney was asked if it was a chance for redemption, however, and he said no.
“We’ll step back from the regular season and evaluate what we got done,” Swinney said. “This is a 10-2 football team with nothing to hang its head about. We not only improved from last year, but we improved through the season. I'm proud of this bunch and proud of the season we had. I don't look at (the bowl game) as redemption. I look at it as an opportunity to win your bowl game and create positive momentum."
Swinney told the media that he has been on the road recruiting and he and the staff haven’t had a chance to watch LSU film as of yet…but he also feels like he doesn’t need to.
“I know enough – I don’t have to turn on the film,” Swinney said. “This is a complete football team – a team that played for the national championship and is a screen pass away from playing for the national championship again. LSU is one of the best teams in the country.”
Clemson will face a tough challenge in LSU’s defense, and Boyd was reminded that Clemson’s last showing against a top SEC defense didn’t turn out too well, and he said he would take part of the blame in the team not being emotionally ready to play South Carolina.
"I should have tried to inspire the guys a little more,” he said. “You look to their sideline and those guys are excited, hopping around. You look to our sideline, and it's like [indifferent]. And we're in the fourth quarter. It's an emotional game. Technique and physicality are important, but you have to play with emotion. I think they were a little bit more psyched up. We have to do a little better job of that. You have to have an edge about you."
Boyd said the Tigers would welcome the chance to go 2-1 against the SEC this season.
“I think it would be a step forward for our program,” he said. “Their rankings are unbelievable. This is a chance to go out and show what we are capable of, and it would be a momentum builder heading into the offseason. It would also look good on our resume. We couldn’t ask for a better opponent – that is why you go to a bowl game, is to play a quality opponent.”
David Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org