Swinney: No let down on Saturday, even if BC loses

by - Senior Writer -
The last home game for C.J. Spiller and the other seniors could bring the Tigers the ACC Atlantic Division title.

CLEMSON – The Clemson Tigers may have the news that they have clinched the 2009 ACC Atlantic Division title before they ever run down The Hill on Saturday afternoon, depending on whether Boston College loses against North Carolina in a game that starts at noon.

A loss by the Eagles automatically gives the Tigers the division title and a berth in the ACC Championship Game, but Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said on Tuesday that the Tigers won’t pay one bit of attention to what is happening between the Eagles and Tar Heels.

“It doesn't matter. If that happens, hey, that's great, but there won't be any celebrating with this team until after we take care of business on the field,” Swinney said. “We'd like to win it outright. You won't see any letdown. It's senior day. We won't spend 30 seconds talking about Boston College, I can assure you. Nobody wants to lose at home. Nobody wants to lose ever. We want to do what champions do and that's take care of business."

Swinney said he doubts the Tigers will even get to watch any of the Boston College game.

"We leave the hotel around 12:55, so we won't be sitting around watching that one,” he said. “There won't be a TV going in the locker room. It just doesn't matter. We're preparing to try to win this football game."

Swinney was asked if he would tell the players to not get caught up in al the hoopla certainly surrounding a potential division title, and he said he was telling them to just enjoy every part of this last bit of the season.

“I tell them all the time to enjoy their journey,” he said. “Let's go enjoy practice. Enjoy sitting there in the meeting with those guys. I tell them all the time to don't get caught up in the hype. When we were 2-3 people were talking about how bad they were and how bad coaches were. I told them not to listen to that. Stays committed on the prize and take everything in stride. Stay focused on what we do and how we do it. They're human beings, yes. They're going to hear that. It's our job as coaches to get them focused and prepared so that they're ready to go play."

Swinney said that the simple that it is Senior Day should give Clemson all the impetus it needs to defeat the Cavaliers in Death Valley.

“This senior class didn't come together six weeks ago,” Swinney said. “They came together in January. They've been together. They're not any different than they were at Georgia Tech or Middle Tennessee or Maryland. They've been solid as a rock since day one. That's why I knew at the Georgia Tech game I said I knew that this team had a chance to be special, that they had what it took, how they responded and how they dealt with each other, how they went back to business and went back to work. They came together way back. Football teams aren't made during the season. They're made from January through August."

The head coach then said that Saturday will be an emotional day for him as he says goodbye to many of the players that have helped get the program to this point.

"I'll greet them as they come down the hill and take a picture with them,” he said. “They'll join their families on the sideline and then the team will come down the hill. When we kick it off, let's go to work. It's already an emotional thing for me. I'm really close to a lot of guys. It's all about relationships.

“It never gets old. Every year when you have to say goodbye to your seniors, it's a tough thing. It's a sad day. And that senior group last year was special, to deal with what they dealt with, to jump all in, and earn a bowl game and then pass the torch to this next group. We've got a great group of guys."

Swinney was about Jacoby Ford and C.J. Spiller, and said that each player has left an indelible mark on the program.

“I'm going to miss him,” Swinney said of Ford. “He's a special young man. Great family. One of the most pleasant guys you could ever be around. He's the exact same way to coach. He responds the right way. Always has. He just loves to play. He loves to work. He's going to graduate in December. He loves Clemson. He loves it here. To see where he has come from to being a dominant kind of guy, I'm just so proud of him.

“He has really grown and has developed into a great wide receiver. He's a tough kid, as tough as they come. He doesn't mind playing without the ball. He's another one of those guys who got a lot of votes for captain."

As for Spiller, Swinney said he had his favorite Spiller moment etched in his mind, and it didn’t happen on the football field.

"When he said he was staying at Clemson,” Swinney said of Spiller. Seeing this young man go up there in front of everyone and speak from the heart, that was a pretty special moment. Just proud of the man that he is. He's just a great role model."

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