Clemson: The Clemson football team finds themselves caught between the two Carolinas as they prepare for the ACC Championship Game this Saturday in Charlotte. The Tigers are trying to shake off the bad memory of last Saturday’s loss to South Carolina while thinking about the task ahead against North Carolina.
Head coach Dabo Swinney was still coping with the loss to the Gamecocks during his Tuesday press conference. Many of the questions were about his team’s performance. His best comment of the session was that it is unacceptable for his team to lose to the Gamecocks.
Swinney also proclaimed that it’s special to still be having a press conference this week, because it meant his team was playing for a championship while most of the other teams in the country were until their bowl game. He also announced that receiver Beaux Collins will have shoulder surgery next week and will miss the bowl game.
Clemson will be playing for their seventh ACC Championship in the last eight years. The Tigers are seeking their 21st ACC title and 27th conference championship all-time. They have won the last four meetings with the Tar Heels, including a 45-37 win over the Tar Heels in the 2015 championship game. Clemson is favored by 7.5 points.
Key comments from Swinney
- North Carolina started out the season poorly on defense but they have gotten better as the season has gone on.
- North Carolina offense is the best they have seen by far.
- Drake Maye is impressive quarterback, they recruited him, he takes care of the ball and is also the leading rusher on the team, lot of designed runs and he also scrambles, lots of RPO in their run game.
- North Carolina has the best player they’ve seen in WR Josh Downs, he catches everything and they find ways to get him the ball, they take a lot of shots down field off the run game.
- Monday was a tough day after the loss, first day back with the players, have to own it and learn from it and go back to work and get everybody on the same page, not acceptable for them to lose THAT game, everybody responded in the right way.
- Thought early in the year they passed and caught the ball well, disappointed with that on Saturday, lots of chances but missed throws and drops hurt them, up until Notre Dame they were doing a good job with that, not where they need to be.
- Lack of confidence and lack of details with the receivers has hurt them, Collins will have shoulder surgery next week.
- McFadden has been dealing with a foot injury and is limited in practice, really pleased with how the offensive line has developed this season, only one senior in McFadden, feels good about the young players.
- They don’t have the room for error on offense and just need to make the plays that are there, catching passes for one, they had five drops vs USC, they hit about every indicator that would mean they won the game.
- Will miss Mickens in the first half of the game due to his targeting call in second half of last week’s game, next man up, feel good about Phillips and Mukuba back there.