The Clemson Tigers embark on an atypical senior day with a conference opponent as opposed to an FC buy-game, but Head Coach Dabo Swinney couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute to a group that has helped dramatically transform the culture of Clemson football.
The players who will be honored Saturday at Death Valley have the chance to set a new ACC record for wins by a class (51) eclipsing last year’s Clemson senior class with that feat. They’re also the only senior class that has won an ACC Division Title in every year of eligibility and can top that with a conference championship in every year with a win in two weeks in Charlotte.
Clemson will honor 29 members of the current roster and four medically retired players who have already graduated or are expected to graduate this school year.
While Swinney says all senior days are hard, he believes this class in particular will be one of the most difficult to let go:
Swinney on Seniors
Clemson prepares for a conference opponent they don’t see often, playing Duke for the first time since 2012 and just the second time in Swinney’s coaching career.
Despite having the unfamiliarity of seeing them on film, this game pairs two coaches with ties going all the way back to their Alabama roots with Swinney and Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe.
Swinney’s respect for Duke extends beyond Cutcliffe to QB Daniel Jones, who the Clemson Head Coach says is “as good of a quarterback as we’ve seen this year”:
Swinney on Duke
While last week’s contest against Boston College represented its closest margin of victory in a month and a half, Clemson has run roughshod through most of its schedule save for a couple of close calls.
This performance has gone on to prove Swinney’s comments from before the season about this being the deepest team he’s had Clemson.
Swinney has played the entire 72-person travel squad in three of the five road games this season, and played 63 players in last week’s 20-point victory at Boston College.
On the surface it would seem the Tigers have not undergone as much adversity of late, but Swinney believes they’ve sustained enough to prepare them for the stretch drive:
Swinney on team depth and handling adversity
Two big weapons the Tigers have used this year new to their bag of tricks are the use of the “Fridge Package” and the impact of the return game.
Both came into play against Boston College as the Tigers scored on a play-action fake with the Fridge Package and Amari Rodgers returned a punt for a touchdown against the Eagles.
Swinney believes those interchangeable parts add to the intangibles that separate this team from the ones he’s had in the past:
Swinney on “Fridge Package” & the impact of the return game
Clemson hosts Duke at 7 PM on Saturday night, in a game televised on ESPN.