Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Tennessee’s Josh Heupel shared their thoughts on the Orange Bowl matchup with their respective teams on a Zoom conference call, Sunday. Swinney recounted some of his memories from the Orange Bowl dating back to his time as an assistant at Alabama when the Tide faced Michigan and a young Tom Brady.
Swinney also shared his thoughts on the dynamic Volunteers offense, noting how explosive they’ve been this season, “Unbelievable tempo, incredibly fast. You can tell they’re connected offensively. Coach Heupel and his staff have done an unbelievable job of building this culture, really putting it together right out of the gate … They’ll be a handful, for sure. I’m glad we don’t play them this week.”
That explosive Tennessee offense did most of its damage this season with Hendon Hooker under center. But Clemson will instead be facing Joe Milton, as Hooker is out for the season following a knee injury. Milton certainly looks the part with fast-twitch athleticism and a strong throwing arm. With Milton at the helm, the Vols piled up 56 points on Vanderbilt in their season finale.
Clemson has a young gun of its own in freshman Cade Klubnik. Fresh off a stellar performance in the ACC Championship Game, Swinney expects Klubnik to “be smart with the ball and do what he’s coached to do. Hopefully, he’ll pick up where he left off.” Where Klubnik “left off” was breathing new life into the Tigers offense by hitting 20 of his 24 passes for 279 yards.
Both staffs will now get more than three weeks to prepare their young signal-callers for the big stage. The Orange Bowl will kick off from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fl., on Dec. 30th at 8 p.m.