It’s been a rough ride for Willie Taggart in his season and a half as head coach at Florida State. No game depicted his early travails than last October’s 59-10 drubbing at the hands of Clemson at Doak-Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee. A half empty stadium watched as Taggart and his Seminoles were totally inept against the Tigers. Fast-forward a year and things are better for the Seminoles. They are 3-2 and winners of two in a row, and according to Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, they are the most talented team they will have faced this season when they meet Saturday afternoon at Death Valley.
The second ranked Tigers are 5-0 and, like FSU, coming off an open date. The Tigers are 27 point favorites to defeat the Seminoles for the fifth straight season. The Tigers also are going for their 21st straight win and the 750th win in program history. Clemson announced some tickets still remain for the 3:30 PM kickoff.
Some key notes from Swinney’s press conference:
- Florida State is the most talented team they play, just check the recruiting rankings. “We don’t beat those guys in recruiting a whole lot.”
- Florida State is getting better, should be 5-0.
- Florida State is truly one or two plays from being 5-0 but the important thing is they are getting better, they are running the ball better, everything goes thru Cam Akers. Swinney said his team was soft against the run last two games.
- Both quarterbacks for Florida State can win and both can run the offense.
- Against Florida State it’s all about stopping the run and then winning your matchups. Defensively, Swinney said it’s the biggest group they’ve seen.
- Florida State has done a good job creating turnovers, they’ve hurt themselves with penalties and sacks allowed.
- The winner of the turnover margin will win the game. He said they’ve got to do a better job creating turnovers, didn’t have one against North Carolina.
- Florida State will try to play really fast, lots of tempo, and will be committed to the run. Said they are emphasizing the down hill running game, lots of RPOs, jet sweeps as well.
- Glad people have an opinion, good or bad, on Clemson. “We matter.” Said he’s taken the cover off the ROY bus, pumped up the tires, got an oil change, they’re back on the ROY bus.
- The five teams they’ve played to this point are better than their first five opponents of last season, and they’re giving up 12 points per game compared to 16 last season with all those NFL players on defense.
- Likes what is going on with the linebackers, they are smart and rarely out of position. Very few busts.
Excerpts from Swinney’s press conference previewing Florida State
Glad to be back in game week, expecting tough game
He has to block out the outside noise from the pundits
Defense had some things to fix during open week
Defense is still one of the best in the country