|Dabo: Bowl practices have been "barn burners"|
|by David Hood - Senior Writer - Monday, December 17, 2012 7:35 PM||
MARIETTA, GA – The Clemson Tigers were almost an hour late coming off the practice field Saturday afternoon, and one observer noted that the coaching staff was “getting after the players” during the session in the new indoor practice facility.
Following the practice, players could be seen running extra sets of wind sprints and up-downs outside of the facility, and head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
View Full Profile admitted Monday afternoon that the Tigers are going all-out in practice as they prepare to face No. 7 LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
Swinney, speaking to the media at the bowl press conference in Marietta, said he thought the players have responded well during bowl preparations.
“I enjoy bowl practice, because it is so different than the season,” Swinney said. “It is a balancing act of trying to keep the players sharp, and going good-on-good and developing competition. Today will be another barn-burner out there. I think we shocked them a little bit out there Saturday, but they responded.”
Swinney said the coaching staff wants to make sure the Tigers end the season on a high note – Clemson hasn’t finished a season with a win since the Music City Bowl win over Kentucky in December of 2009.
“You want to end on a good note. You don’t play again until September and there is a lot of work that has to be done before you play, so you want momentum heading into the offseason,” Swinney said. “For us, we haven’t been to that level like LSU has of late and we have a chance for an 11th win. The chance to do something that hasn’t been done in a while [11th win] would be a great finish for us and build the momentum for us heading into the offseason.”
Swinney said the practices have been tough for two reasons – to get the Tigers focused despite the typical December distractions, and to prepare for a very physical LSU team.
“It is a little bit of both,” he said. “We are trying to make sure we prepare our team to go out and compete at the level of intensity and physicality it will take to win this game. They will be the most physical team we have played in a while, when you consider all three phases of the game. On 3rd-and-10, they will run the power. On first down, they will run the power. They have a style of play you don’t see all the time. You have to prepare your team the right way to make sure that everyone is fully committed and understands that they have to put their best foot forward.”
Swinney then said that part of that is making sure the starting offense faces the starting defense, what he calls good-on-good.
“It is just a lot of good-on-good, and then Saturday we had twenty minutes of ‘Oklahoma’ drills,” he said. “We will start tapering that back later this week. We are looking at it like an opener – we have a month to get ready and that is how we are looking at it, like the opening game of the season. You can only prepare for one team for so long, and sometimes you can over-prepare. We are just making sure our minds are right and we are getting the chance to prepare them physically and mentally.”
He then said the bowl practice has other benefits.
“This is a chance to keep developing our football team,” Swinney said. “We are taking a lot of the younger guys, who have been on the scout team, and we are exposing them to coaching that they really haven’t had this season. It is a balancing act.”
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