Despite the temptation to think about the Palmetto Bowl or the ACC Championship Game against Miami down the road, Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney will implore his group to focus solely on Citadel this week.
The Bulldogs team has a history of spoiling the apple cart, with a victory against South Carolina two years ago as evidence.
Their history against Clemson has not been nearly as fruitful, as the only Bulldogs win in the series came in 1931 in Florence.
Clemson’s already lent a helping hand to the Bulldogs this season, as Swinney offered up the services of Clemson’s practice facility when the Citadel campus was closed due to Hurricane Irma.
Swinney knows that if they are not focused on the task at hand, Citadel can make things interesting.
Swinney on Citadel
One thing is impossible to ignore, this period of time is an appetizer for Clemson’s motivating spirit heading into a de facto semifinal game against the Hurricanes in Charlotte.
While the Tigers have a firm focus on their remaining ballgames, Swinney was reflective on the symbolic goal achievement of winning another division title.
Swinney proud of winning ACC Atlantic
The Tigers have been able to win the past two weeks with more of a rushing attack than Kelly Bryant’s right arm.
Execution issues caused the Tigers to struggle on the goal line, and Bryant’s 4th-Quarter fumble opened the door to a possible Seminoles comeback before Van Smith’s interception sealed the victory.
Bryant was held without a touchdown pass against Florida State, and has not had a 200-yard passing game since the victory over Georgia Tech.
Swinney was quick to point out, however, that while Bryant hasn’t thrown his best, Clemson has been able to run the ball with purpose.
Swinney: Despite Bryant’s struggles, offense still producing
Injuries have tested Clemson’s depth this year, primarily at the cornerback position.
Two positions where depth has become a luxury are between the trenches: particularly offensive line and defensive end.
Clemson has rotated about eight or nine guys on the offensive line who Swinney says he believes could start for them in a given week.
The defensive end spot took a big hit in the preseason with injuries to Richard Yeargin and Logan Rudolph.
Swinney says the depth there can still get some work, but they’ve improved given more opportunities in recent weeks.
Swinney on OL and DE Depth
Clemson will understandably test some of that depth this week with an assuredly over-matched Citadel squad coming to Death Valley.
Swinney said Dexter Lawrence will likely be held out, and Mark Fields (leg), Tre Lamar (stinger) and Ryan Carter (concussion protocol) are all listed as questionable for Saturday.
One player who Swinney says will be back for Senior Day is Marcus Edmond, who has not seen the field since the first drive of the Auburn game during the second week of the season.
Swinney believes that Marcus Edmond should receive some NFL attention in spite of his injury-riddled final collegiate season.
Swinney on Marcus Edmond
Clemson and the Citadel kick off at 12:20 in a game televised by the ACC Network.