Focus shouldn’t be a problem against Boston College
|Friday, September 22, 2017, 8:01 AM- -|
For a lot of teams, Saturday could be seen as a potential problem.
You know, a team coming off a big-time win and with another big-time matchup coming up next week. It might be hard for some teams to stay focused on the task at hand: a home date in a mid-afternoon game against a team that appears to be overmatched.
That’s exactly what faces Clemson on Saturday afternoon against Boston College, but it sure feels like this Clemson program doesn’t have trouble with focus.
Clemson dominated Louisville last week in a game that a lot of folks thought could be the first bump in the road for the Tigers. Clemson was facing its first road game of the season with a quarterback making its first career road start, and the opponent showcased a dynamic talent in last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Lamar Jackson.
So that was going to be a tough test, right? Well, it didn’t turn out that way. Clemson controlled the action from the start and completely took Jackson and the Louisville crowd of the game.
Next week offers another potential hurdle with another night game against another road team in what should be a dynamic atmosphere (and Blacksburg is actually a much tougher place to play than Louisville). So it just makes sense that Clemson will be overlooking Boston College on Saturday and focusing, instead, on getting ready to take on the Hokies.
After all, that is a rematch of last year’s ACC championship game, and Clemson hasn’t made the trip to Blacksburg in a few years.
Don’t count on it.
Focus hasn’t been a problem for the Clemson program for a few years, and that shouldn’t be an issue Saturday either. If anything, Clemson has taken care of these kinds of games – and the silly Clemsoning talk – better than any other team in the country in recent years.
Sure, the Tigers lost to Pittsburgh last season at home, but you could almost see that coming for a few weeks before it happened (see: the N.C. State escape). And other than that Pittsburgh game, Clemson has taken care of business in these kinds of games for a few years.
Dabo Swinney’s staff makes a point of having the players respect every opponent and appreciate the chance to play every game. That single-minded focus helped the program turn the corner a few years ago and become elite in recent seasons. There’s no reason to think that will change with the Eagles coming to town.
Boston College doesn’t have a great team – or maybe even a good team; we’ll find out throughout the season – but that doesn’t seem to matter to Swinney and his staff and players. They focus on the right things and don’t get caught up in the big picture.
Teams that do that don’t worry about what has happened in the past or what is to come in the future. And that’s exactly what makes them great.
That will be on display again Saturday.
Daniel Shirley is the sports editor of The Telegraph in Macon, Ga., and co-host of The Midday Sports Zone on Middle Georgia’s ESPN, 93.1 FM, and 99.5 FM. Follow him on Twitter at @DM_Shirley and read his blog at macon.com/peachsports.