Dabo's message to the fans: Wake up and show up for Wake Forest


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Swinney says he wants to see a national championship environment
Swinney says he wants to see a national championship environment

CLEMSON – Wake up and show up.

That’s the message head coach Dabo Swinney had for Clemson fans regarding Saturday’s noon kickoff against Wake Forest. Swinney walked into the team room in the new football operations center Tuesday with a plan, and that plan was to tell anyone who would listen that everyone needs to put their proverbial best foot forward this weekend.

He also cautioned that no one should overlook the 4-1 Demon Deacons.

“They’ve got great energy and great toughness, and I just want to make sure everybody understands the type of team that’s rolling in here this week. We need to wake up, show up and be ready to go,” Swinney said. “That’s our football team, that’s our fans, that’s Tiger Walk, that’s everything…that’s our students. We need a National Championship environment this weekend. Anything less than that, then we’re not putting our best foot forward. That’s what it takes every single week, putting your best foot forward in preparation and consistency in performance.

“That’s what I’m looking for this week, and I hope that we’re going to have an awesome homecoming crowd. I look forward to that, our former players coming back to lead the Tiger Walk. That’s always fun for me, seeing a bunch of old guys in front of the Tiger Walk leading us into the stadium. We look forward to a great week. It’s exciting on campus to see all the stuff going on and the energy from our students…from floats and Central Spirit and everything that goes into this week. I appreciate all the effort that everybody puts in to making this a special week. I’m excited about this ball game. This is going to be a good one.”

Swinney said Wake Forest can’t be overlooked.

“Let me just tell you right out of the gate: this is a very, very good football team that we’re getting ready to play. If anybody says anything different, then you have absolutely no clue what you are talking about,” Swinney said. “This is a very experienced, well-coached, disciplined, tough football team. We have not played a single team, and we probably won’t play another team, that plays as hard as this Wake Forest football team. So, if there is any inclination that people like to create that this team right here is not a legit contender for our division, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

“Let me just set the tempo for the meeting right there. This is a dadgum good Wake Forest team we’re getting ready to play. It is impressive to watch them on tape. They were a hangnail away from beating Florida State last week, and if we were playing Florida State this week, their name would have a different mindset from some of the people on the outside of this program.”

Wake lost a heartbreaker to Florida St. last weekend.

“We all know the type of athletes that Florida State has, and we know the type of coaches they have. [Wake Forest] is a team that, if not for a big kickoff return, would probably win the game and be undefeated,” Swinney said. “I cannot tell you how impressed I am watching these guys on tape. I have a great appreciation for teams that, when I watch them, I see buy-in, and I see heart; and I see passion; and I see toughness; and I see really, really good coaching. All of those things are on display when you watch these tapes of Wake Forest. This is year four for coach (Dave) Clawson, and man, he’s done a heck of a job. They’ve got a football team that believes. They’ve got a football team that’s very precise with what they do. They know what they’re doing and are incredibly well coached. But what I love more than anything is that you can see the buy-in from the players.

“They know who they are and how they want to do things, and this is as experienced a team as we’re going to play. They’ve got 10 starters back on defense and nine back on offense, led by a quarterback (John Wolford) that is a winner. This is a guy who’s tough, very similar to last week as far as presentations and style of play. But this guy is a senior. He’s very accurate; he’s smart; he’s just a great leader for them. They play tough up front. They’ve got a great scheme, so we’re going to be challenged, and we’ve got to play well.”

He then said that the Demon Deacons will keep up their winning ways.

“This is a Wake Forest team that’s going to win a bunch of games this year. Mark it down. If they stay healthy, they’re going to win a bunch of games,” he said. “They’re going to be a tough out for everybody. I’m very impressed with this team and how they play, how they complement each other. They lead the nation in tackles for loss (50). I think they had 17 tackles for loss against Florida State, and that’s incredible.”


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