Crunch week: Swinney says it will take 3 or 4 plays to get Tigers 'over the hump'

'Saturday was a great day for us - sort of a set-the-tempo type of thing. The guys responded very well'

Dabo Swinney watches the Tigers warm up at their first bowl game football practice session on Dec. 8th

Photo by Mark Crammer

Dabo Swinney watches the Tigers warm up at their first bowl game football practice session on Dec. 8th

For Clemson's Tigers, this is crunch week in preparation for LSU and the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Dabo Swinney took timeout on Monday for a joint press conference with LSU coach Les Miles in Atlanta, but today and Wednesday the Tigers will be back at work, implementing their game plan for the bowl game.

"We're full speed ahead," Swinney said on Monday. "It's been a little bit of a juggling act, between recruiting and finals and practice. But Saturday was a great day for us - sort of a set-the-tempo type of thing. The guys responded very well."

Swinney said it will take "a great week of preparation to give ourselves a chance" against LSU.

"We'll do a lot of good-on-good work, and we'll continue to work on player development with our young guys, making sure we take advantage of the extra time that the bowl allows," he said. "We want to create some momentum with the guys who've been on scout team all fall."

Swinney said he and his coaches have focused on common opponents in preparing a game plan for LSU. Miles' team defeated Auburn and South Carolina, both by two points, while Clemson opened with a win over Auburn and closed with a loss to the Gamecocks.

"You look at those games, do your cut-ups and break the film down," Swinney said. "There may be certain personnel groupings they really like. So we'll study that, just like we do with all the games, and we start to see an identity in the things they like to do.

"Great teams have identities - that's why they're a great team, they're good at what they do."

Against a team like LSU, Swinney said there are no magic tricks or shortcuts.

"They're not going to try to trick anybody," he said. "You have to block 'em and execute. To win games like this - just like against Florida State and South Carolina - there are always three or four plays that you just have to make.

"Unless something drastic or unusual happens and a game gets out of hand, it's three or four plays. To get over the hump, we have to make those plays."

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Comments » 5

Xander5000 writes:

Uh.....thats Les Miles you are dealing with Dabo. Yes his team can be a physical bully all game long, but when Les Miles sees a chance or if his back is up against the wall or if he is feeling real cocky he will try to trick you without question. Watch your backs Clemson.

TigerNE writes:

<<Swinney said it will take "a great week of preparation to give ourselves a chance" against LSU.>>

Why does Swinney so often sound like he's prepared to be beaten? It's annoying to me as a fan. It's bound to get into the head of the players.

pmelvin writes:

I'm still trying to forgive Dabo for punting with 4th and long with just over 3 minutes to go in the USC game. I think that was an obvious face-saving maneuver to keep the score from becoming 34-17 which would be quite a bit more embarrassing to him and Clemson. I can't see any other way to explain that decision. I hope that hasn't gotten into the players heads....ie...managing a loss.

Given that, I don't like the poor mouthing thing much either. But let's get real, we are the definite underdog here (forget the 3 point spread) and I think he is trying to play that card in the public. I don't mind that underdog mentality in this situation...we just don't know what he is saying to the players in private.

cuGIZ82 writes:

He is being humble...he really wants to win every game.

Wallaman writes:

Oh. There's gonna be some humping. Unfortunately for Clemson they've not faced this level of talent much, only FSU and SC this year. Those didn't go so well. While they looked great to the fans in the other 10, you have to remember only 2 had better than 6 wins.

If Boyd and company can't get up on the board early and often then it's going to be a really long night. LSU is far better conditioned, literally and experience wise. By Q4. I expect Clemson to be gassed and barely hanging on. If they're behind at the end if Q3, it's done.

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