It is clear that Clemson Tigers‘ Head Coach Dabo Swinney is proud of his team. At 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the ACC, it is easy to see why Swinney is glowing about his Tigers. But this week’s press conference Swinney was especially proud of one side of the ball and, if you can believe it, it was the side that does not include Tajh Boyd or Sammy Watkins.
“I think this is the deepest defensive line we have had. We kind of started over last year with sophomores as starters. This is the deepest group, most talented group and the most experience group we have had. The biggest improvement on the line is that people know their names. No one knew their names last season. We have good guys that have the right stuff, but know one knew their names. These guys are starting to create an identity for themselves.”
The reason for this sound byte is simple. Swinney knows for the Tigers to take the next step, and to continue to grow Clemson in a perennial BCS National Title contender, it is the defense, not the offense, who must play with the utmost confidence.
And his timing of bragging on the defense is perfect. With a very talented an capable offense in the Boston College Eagles this week and the scoring show that is the Florida State Seminoles next week, Swinney knows the Tigers need to be prepared mentally and physically to play its best football of the season.
“These guys know that this week (Boston College) is the biggest game of the year. This is a good football team that will challenge us. This is a confident team. They have our full attention. If you don’t play well and win, Florida State isn’t the big story on Monday. You don’t get any mulligans in this sport”
There is no looking ahead from a coaching and preparation standpoint based on these quotes. But the players have to buy into this as well. With Social Media and the mothership already talking up next week’s game against the Noles, it is hard for an 18-22 year old not to get caught up in the future.
But as Swinney so perfectly stated, if you want to get to the Monday conversation of FSU you have to beat BC Saturday because if you don’t all anyone will write and talk about is Clemson’s inability to beat the Eagles.