Clemson coach Dabo Swinney successfully has navigated his team through what no doubt was the most challenging regular season of his career, and now it’s on to the next challenge as the Tigers strive for a sixth straight appearance in the College Football Playoffs. That would take a victory over Notre Dame Saturday afternoon in Charlotte giving the Tigers an unprecedented sixth straight outright conference championship, something Oklahoma can match in the Big 12 title game Saturday night. Tuesday Swinney met with the media via Zoom to preview the rematch with the Irish who beat the Tigers in double-overtime in November in South Bend. He spent his opening remarks reciting all the accomplishments of this team and his program over the last six seasons before diving into the meat of the matchup.
Key comments from Swinney
- Very few coaches and players get the chance to compete at the highest level for a championship, not something they take for granted. Will be a great matchup.
- No team he’s had has faced the challenges of this team, told his team this year would shine them up or grind them up, and 2020 has shined up this team, has seen the character of the team and the staff. Calls the season of the greatest moments of his life.
- They have had 23 different starters on defense this season, their average has been 16.
- 40 different players started this season, averaged 73 players per game, 16 will graduate Thursday and Friday.
- Told players and coaches in the summer, you don’t have to be here for this season, your decision, no one jumped ship, even ones who couldn’t play like Justin Foster, in the weight room and in the meetings every day.
- Lawrence will be as good as it is at quarterback from day one in the NFL, he’s seen it all, there’s nothing he’ll see there he hasn’t already seen.
- Signed a great group last year and lot of those guys have had an impact, excited about meeting all the needs with this next group they’ll sign tomorrow. Very excited about what they might do tomorrow.
- Ian Book is a great player, has some magic to him, can do it all, great command of the scheme, makes some great throws, hates to compare him to Joe Montana, but…, as good a runner as you’ll see, knows how to scramble.
- To win the game, they’ll have to play a lot more precisely against Book, can’t have the breakdowns and allow the big plays he made against them in the first game.