Tigers Finally Getting Healthy

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON - The Clemson Tigers, a team that has been devastated by injuries on both the offensive and defensive lines this season, are finally getting healthy, which is good news if the Tigers want to go bowling in December or January.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney met with the media on Tuesday, and said that he was not only pleased after reviewing the Duke game film, he was happy to report that the Tigers are healthy as they head into their last two games needing two win in order to be eligible for a bowl trip.

“I am really proud of the guys, because they played a complete game Saturday,” Swinney said. “It was the best game of the year for us on both sides of the ball. I am really happy that the players responded after coming off a difficult road trip in Tallahassee. They responded well and controlled the game from the very first snap.

“A lot of guys played very well. I thought we were the more physical team, we did not turn it over, and if we continue to do that, and play well in the trenches, we have a chance to win.”

It is in those trenches where Clemson is finally starting to get healthy, with only defensive tackle Dorell Scott listed as questionable for the Virginia game this weekend.

“We are a healthy team,” Swinney said. “Obviously, that is something that has plagued us throughout the season, and right now we are probably as healthy as we have been all season. In fact, a lot of the guys did not play four quarters (against Duke), so that is a plus, too. Especially with a physical opponent on the road this week, it’s good we got a chance to rest some guys.”

Swinney also that the Tigers now need to see if they can play a complete game on the road, not just at home in front of their own fans.

“Our focus this week is seeing if we can get a complete game on the road,” he said. “Virginia is very tough at home. They are a very capable opponent and when they play at their place, it gives them a great advantage. When you look at them as a team, they are a team that would be thrilled to win 10-7, so we have to score points.

“If we can score points, it would be an advantage for is. If it is very close, a three-point game with a lot of field goals, then that is the type of game they want to have,”

Swinney said that the one problem that has plagued the Tigers all season is turnovers, as it has the Cavaliers, and the key might be which team can protect the ball better.

“You look at them, and like us, they are not very good in the turnover department,” he said. “They are near the bottom, and we are last. That is obviously THE factor for us is taking care of the ball. The key for them is going to be protecting. They feel like the best chance for them to win is spreading people out and getting their receivers in space. They probably pass protect better than they run block. This game will be won in the trenches on both sides.”

The Cavaliers are second in the league in passing offense, while Clemson is first in pass defense, and Swinney said it will be interesting to see which unit comes out on top on Saturday.

“It will be their strength versus our strength,” he said. “It will be two strengths going against each other, and that will be something to watch during the game. We have an opportunity to put something together here (at the end of the season), so there is a lot on the line.”

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