Swinney expects Tigers to win in Tallahassee

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Count Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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among the few who believe that the Tigers have a shot at beating Florida St. Saturday night in Tallahassee.

The Tigers practiced Wednesday with the loud strains of Florida St.’s “Warchant” echoing not only across the practice field, but across the campus. Following the practice, Swinney jokingly questioned the media in attendance about how many were picking Clemson to win.

The tables were then turned on Swinney, and he was asked if he was picking No. 10 Clemson to beat No. 4 Florida St.

“I always think we’re going to win, always, always,” Swinney said. “I never prepare to lose, never have. I always prepare to win and think we’re going to win, but you’ve got to go compete and get it done. If you don’t, you learn and grow, keep rolling.”

Swinney said he expects a hostile environment at Doak Campbell, and said that is why Warchant has been playing at such ear-splitting levels.

“I don’t want to hear anybody come over to the sideline saying they can’t hear,” Swinney said. “There’s no excuses. Ain’t no way that it’s going to be louder than what we’ve done in practice. We’ve purposely done it this way, so hopefully it’ll be a little easier on them.”

The Tigers have a tall task in beating the Seminoles and the nation’s No. 1 –ranked defense. The good news is that right tackle Giff Timothy is expected to start and play, good news considering he will be the one tasked with stopping defensive end Bjoern Werner.

“Watching us last year, Landon [Walker] did a decent job with [Werner], but Landon was a very experienced, knowledgeable player and he kept himself in position,” Swinney said. “That’s the first thing you’ve got to do. If you hesitate, if you’re late off the ball, if you don’t kick properly, you’re in trouble with a guy like that. That’s where it starts, just really being sound, technically, and staying in position to execute properly.

“And we’ve got to do things to keep him out of rhythm. If it’s a game where they can just pin their ears back and go get the quarterback, it’s probably not been a good day. But if we can keep them off balance and stay on schedule, make some first downs then we’re not one dimensional. That’s real key-if we’re one dimensional, then we’ll have a hard time.”

Swinney said when the protection does break down – and it will – it will be up the Clemson quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
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to make plays with his feet.

“There’s going to be some ‘look outs’ somewhere in the game,” Swinney said. “Great players, it doesn’t matter at what level, you watch Peyton Manning, and there were some look outs in that game. Great quarterbacks get rid of the ball, they anticipate, they step up and they make plays. You make something good out of something that ain’t good [when] a play breaks down.

“And [Boyd has] done that this year. But we’re definitely going to have to have him be active with his feet, feel the rush lanes, step up in the pocket, just keep positive yards on our side. That’s going to be critical. He’s got to be a factor when we ask him to run the ball. In the run game, he’s got to be a factor, be productive.”

Swinney complimented Auburn, Ball St. and Furman – Clemson’s first three opponents – but said Florida St. is on a different level than anything the Tigers have seen so far this season.

“We have not been challenged like these guys are going to challenge us,” Swinney said. “We’re all going to find out a little bit more about our team on Saturday.”

*Clemson SID Tim Bourret said during the press conference that the Tigers have eight different offensive linemen who have played at least 98 snaps this season.

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