Road work accomplished, focused Tigers turn their attention to Boston College

Dabo Swinney: 'If we look past BC, we'll get beat - it's as simple as that. This is a good football team we're getting ready to play'

Clemson's Shaq Lawson faces Syracuse's Michael Lasker during the third quarter at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Shaq Lawson faces Syracuse's Michael Lasker during the third quarter at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York.

Dabo Swinney says his third-ranked Tigers "did exactly what they needed to do" to beat Syracuse.

He'll be looking for them to turn the page and do it again when he reassembles his team Monday morning to begin preparations for Clemson's home game on Saturday against Boston College.

"Our deal is the same - we're playing BC, here's who they are, here's what they do, and here's what we need to do," Swinney said during his Sunday evening teleconference. "Our guys trust our plan of preparation, and that's why they're playing like they are. We refocus every Monday and move on to the next game."

While the national chatter will undoubtedly skip over the Eagles and focus on the following week's game against sixth-ranked Florida State (which has an open date next weekend), Swinney says his Tigers know they can't afford that distraction.

"If we look past BC, we'll get beat - it's as simple as that," Swinney said. "This is a good football team we're getting ready to play, and we'll have our hands full. BC is a tough, physical football team. If we don't stay focused on our formula to win and this opponent, we'll get beat."

Swinney said the Tigers went into the Syracuse game looking to improve upon their previous performance on the road. He said that across the board, the Tigers did just that.

"You never play or coach a perfect game, but I was very proud of our football team," Swinney said. "Our effort was tremendous, we won the turnover margin, we had big plays, our special teams were good except for the fake-punt, and we had few critical errors. Our protection was good and our playmakers made plays."

He cited several areas where the Tigers have room for improvement, including Tajh Boyd's first two interceptions of the season and the offense's less-than-stellar performance on third down.

Player of the game awards went to Boyd on offense, Adam Humphries on special teams, and Vic Beasley and Darius Robinson on defense.

On the injury front, Swinney said the Tigers have "a lot of guys nicked up right now."

Questionable for the Boston College game are starting safety Travis Blanks, who has a strained PCL, and reserve linebacker and special teams regular Ben Boulware, who suffered a hyperextended knee, but had no ligament damage.

"We'll know more on both of those guys by Wednesday," said Swinney, who noted that if Blanks can't go against BC, he should be ready for the FSU game a week later.

"We've just got a lot of bumps and aches and pains that guys are playing through, and I just appreciate their effort. Martin Jenkins broke his thumb in the first half, but played the whole second half. Then he broke his tooth, spit his tooth out and he's still out there playing 50-something plays."

Swinney said first-year freshman Jayron Kearse stepped in for Blanks at safety and gave a good account of himself.

"Jayron plays hard and makes some mistakes, but the experience he's getting is invaluable," Swinney said. "He's big, rangy and physical, and he makes plays. He's still developing, still learning, but he's not afraid to put his hat in there. I think he'll be one of the special ones before he leaves here."

Kearse had his first career interception on Saturday.

Swinney said that Sammy Watkins suffered a hip bruise in the first half, but that the injury isn't serious.

"We tried to hold him as much as we could, but when things got a little out of sync in the second half, we felt like we needed to get No. 2 back in there," he said. "The best thing that Sammy's doing right now is the way he's impacting game without the football. He's doing a great job with his blocking and faking.

"He's becoming a great leader for us, and is playing at a very high level."

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