Tigers fine tune, play throw-and-catch during opening Georgia Dome practice

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

Clemson held the first of four practices in Atlanta as it prepares to face eighth ranked (BCS) LSU on Monday night in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The 14th ranked Tigers worked out at the Georgia Dome, the site of the annual game, on Wednesday. The Tigers will work their on Thursday and Friday as well before working at Georgia Tech on Saturday.

“As opposed to just walking in there for the first time on game day, you get a chance to get used to that environment and the surface and catching balls with the ceiling,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said of practicing in the Georgia Dome. “It’s a whole different environment from what you’re used to.”

Clemson has more experience playing indoors than usual entering this game. The Tigers started the season with a 26-19 win over Auburn in the season opener this year. The Tigers also had six practices in its new indoor facility at Clemson before Christmas.

Clemson arrived in Atlanta on Tuesday night and practiced at the Georgia Dome on Wednesday morning before proceeding to the Dave & Buster’s in Marietta, Ga., where the Chick-fil-A Bowl served as host an official welcome party for the team in the afternoon.

“We had great preparation in Clemson and were able to get our objectives done, and we got back started today with good meetings and really just fine-tuning the plan,” Swinney said.

“We’re really just trying to spend this week on execution, knowledge, fundamentals and technically just trying to be as sharp as we can. Because in a game like this, it comes down to just a few plays, and we need to be as technically sharp as we can be.”

As Swinney alluded to, the game boasts one of the best matchups of the entire bowl season. The Tigers of the SEC finished No. 8 in the final BCS standings, while the Tigers of the ACC finished No. 14. Of the five BCS bowls, only the National Championship and Fiesta Bowl have better matchups in terms of the combined BCS standings than the Chick-fil-A.

“Certainly we’ve got a big task in front of us,” Swinney said. “This is a top-10 team and one of the best bowl teams out there for a reason.”

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