Dabo Swinney is "grateful" that it's finally game week


by - Senior Writer -
Swinney speaks in his first virtual weekly press conference.
Swinney speaks in his first virtual weekly press conference.

Dabo Swinney knows that things are far from normal, but he’s also happy we have a game to talk about.

Clemson takes on Wake Forest Saturday (7:44 kickoff, ABC) at Truist Field in Winston-Salem. The Tigers are heavy favorites over the Demon Deacons, and have won 11 in a row in the series, including the last two by a 115-6 combined score.

Swinney doesn’t care. He’s just ready to get things kicked off.

“This is our normal Tuesday press conference, but certainly not normal in the fact that we’ve got an empty room and miss all my friends up in the top corner there. And miss being with everybody in person but thankful and grateful that it’s finally game week,” Swinney said during his weekly press conference. “You know, game week is always special. And to be honest with you, the opening day of anything is always special. And that’s really, I think the mindset that our team has embraced this year is every day is opening day, every day is opening day.

“Just trying to win the day -- one day at a time. And this team is really embraced that. And like I said, every year, the opening week is special. There’s so much to do and get ready for that first game. And you got to get everybody in a rhythm for the season and in sync. But this year has been like none other in that regard and just super, super excited about it.”

Swinney said he is as excited about this opener as any he’s ever had and that the Clemson culture has won the day.

“Probably as excited about this opening week as my very first one as a head coach, just because all it has taken to get here,” he said. “I'm super proud of all the people in our organization, you know, President Clements all the way down and our staff, our support staff and all that has taken place to get us to this point and really proud of our team. These guys have been amazing, and I’ve seen our culture win the day, if you will, through this tough, tough time that we’ve all dealt with since March.

“And it’s a very close football team. This is a well-led team, a very smart team. And it’s an exciting team and it’s a committed team. And I can’t wait to see them play and get to do what they love to do, to be able to get back to doing something that they love. It’s really exciting to be at this point. So see where we are. You know, it’s the first game. Obviously, it’s an opener.”

Swinney said the Demon Deacons are well-coached and will present a challenge.

“Openers are always the toughest games to me just because you really you have no tape,” Swinney said. “You’re basing everything on last year, last year’s schemes, last year’s personnel, there’s always new people that you have not seen any tape. You have more time to prepare for the first game than you do any other game. So to me, it’s always the toughest game to get ready for. But we’re excited about it. Then you are going on the road and going up to a place at Wake and you look at what they’ve done at home.

“They’ve been a very tough team to beat at home. And but at the end of the day, you got to start somewhere and now we’ll see where we are and then see what we need to do to improve. So, you know, it’s just awesome that it’s finally here. Wake Forest is a very well coached. They’ve got a lot of respect for Coach Clawson. He and I’ve spent a lot of time together, a lot of time since March. We have been on a couple of different weekly meetings for a long time, even still, got a meeting tomorrow.”

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