No falling asleep on the bus: Swinney expects raucous environment in Blacksburg
|Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 1:14 PM-|
CLEMSON – The last time Clemson traveled to Virginia Tech, the bus ride from the hotel to the stadium took so long that most of the players and coaches fell asleep, giving head coach Dabo Swinney a bad feeling about the potential outcome.
Swinney expects a different level of excitement this time around.
No. 2 Clemson visits No. 12 Tech Saturday, and Swinney spent part of his Tuesday press conference reminiscing about the Tigers’ win over the Hokies in 2011.
“I remember not many people gave us a chance to win. Similar to this, it seemed like every week we were playing some ranked opponent,” Swinney said Tuesday. “It was like, 'Dang, here comes another one.' We had to go up to Blacksburg and it was cold and rainy. I just remember we played a big game. We really played well. We played well defensively and made just enough play offensively. Dwayne Allen made a big play. Mike Bellamy popped one. It was just a hard-fought, tough, dreary night type of game. I remember it was a long ride to the stadium.
“We stayed in Roanoke or something and it seemed like forever to get there. We took some back road and I remember looking back and the whole team is asleep and I'm going, 'We're going to get our butts kicked.' They're all snoring and we played a pretty good game. It's an awesome environment and it was just kind of our night that night. They were really talented. I think that might have been their only loss until the championship game. They were a really good team. We played well.”
Clemson started slowly in a 34-7 win over Boston College last weekend, and Swinney says he wasn’t surprised at the unhappiness of the crowd.
“I said, 'They're booing us, boys. They're booing us.' They're used to seeing explosiveness and things like that but it just wasn't that type of day,” Swinney said. “It just comes with the territory. I'm never going to apologize for a win and I'm never going to allow our players to not appreciate a win. If the fans don't want to appreciate it, then I know this, the guys in that locker room will always appreciate how hard it is to win. 3, 2, 9, 69, 68, they all count the same and you move on to the next one and you try to get better each and every week. Other teams have good players, good coaches, scholarships, pride, offseason programs.
“I loved that game Saturday and what happened in the fourth quarter was the result of the first three quarters. It was awesome to be able to win a game like that. I'll take it every week. If you're not happy about a 14-7 win or a 34-7 win, then we might need to rethink things. I have a great appreciation for how hard it is to win and that's why we celebrate every single win. There are no style points. We just try to find ways to win games each and every week. Most of the time we and if we don't we know we have to get better. Let's go find a way to get back on track.”
On the National Anthem controversy
“My thoughts are on Virginia Tech. I'm not getting into that mess. My thoughts are on the Hokies."
“No, he looked a little slow and he didn't really hit the hole with the burst like we needed him to. Heck yeah, he looked as good on film. He looked great. He's awesome. You can't deny what you saw. Like you've heard me say, he just runs like every play is the game-winning play in the Super Bowl. He just has that mindset and you love that. He doesn't always go to the right spot, but he has that desperation to him and you love that.
“After four games, Feaster and Travis have kind of separated just a little bit and have definitely earned more opportunity. That's not to discount Adam Choice and C.J. Fuller. I was just watching our game from last year and C.J. Fuller had some huge plays in the ACC Championship game. Huge plays. Big runs. We're going to need Choice and Fuller. Choice had one of the best runs in the (Boston College) game - ran threw tackles and then carried a guy into the end zone. He's just gaining his confidence. I think we've got four really, really good players there and we'll need them all. They'll all have an opportunity. With the performance to this point, Feaster and Travis have kind of warranted a little more opportunity with what we've seen.”
“Marcus Edmond is probably still not going to be able to go. I think he's probably going to be out another week. He is getting better. Trayvon Mullen is in the (concussion) protocol. I don't have anything to do with that so I have no idea. That's just day-by-day. Mark Fields will practice today and we'll see where he's at.”
“We're battle-tested. We've played two top 15 teams and one of them at their place. We played a tough Boston College team that's physical. We've had our noses bloodied. We've had to respond to some adversity. It hasn't been all rosy. I like the way our team has responded in those situations so hopefully, that's something we can continue to grow from. We're still growing into the team I hope we can be. We're a confident team, but we know we have to play well and keep improving. It's not going to get any easier. Every week for us is the biggest game of the year and that's the mindset we have. This week will be another big challenge.”