November is a week away and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is fond of calling that month championship season. But there will be no championships for his Tigers this season, unless they beat South Carolina for the state championship. They are 4-3 overall and 2-3 in the ACC following their disastrous loss at Miami last weekend.
The Tigers play at NC State this Saturday and Swinney opened his Tuesday press conference by heaping praise on a Wolfpack team that is 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the ACC. The Wolfpack changed quarterbacks mid-season but Swinney said the running game is their strength. Defensively, he’s impressed with State from front to back.
As for his team, Swinney maintained the Tigers are as good as anyone they play and if they would eliminate their turnovers (they are last nationally in fumbles lost) they would be fine. He also reiterated what he said after the Miami game and again on his conference call Sunday there was no ambiguity on the call of the last play…Cade Klubnik was supposed to hand the ball off to Will Shipley.
Some of Swinney’s key comments:
- Looking for a way to win a game, won’t be easy, NC State has a very good defense, big and strong up front, aggressive linebackers, lot of respect for Peyton Wilson, they do a good job in the secondary.
- New OC at NC State, more 10 personnel than they have been, everything starts in the run game, physical up front, lot of stretch, a lot of counter, big OL who can move their feet, roll in three backs.
- Biggest thing is not let them get comfortable in the run game and shorten the game, got to be better on third down than they were last week, typical NC State team that will be physical and will challenge them.
- Antonio Williams is out this week and will be out for a few weeks with the toe injury, hope to get him back by the end of the season, Mickens is also out after having appendicitis and having his appendix removed.
- Mascoll remains day to day after being banged up in the Miami game, will have Xavier Thomas back for this week.
- Had some guys not fill the right gaps against the Miami run, some guys were trying to do too much, it was their worst third down game on both sides, and they’ve got to finish.
- Got to win the turnover battle, they are dead last, the reason they are where they are is because of fumbles, and they are 126th in red zone, they are good enough to win every game, good enough to play with anybody, hard to win with “catastrophic” turnovers.
- They’ve had 12 really good seasons and have gotten a lot of breaks, and sometimes the breaks don’t go your way, and it’s with their best players, if they were making a lot of bad decisions it would be different, got to find a way to win the turnover margin.
- Loves Klubnik, lot of encouraging things, his great plays are overshadowed by the miscues, they’ll look back at this year one day and say it was just one of those years, believes the pieces of a championship are on this team.
- The freshman class is a special group, and the second year group is a special group, has another great recruiting class coming in, likes the foundation, thinks they’ve hit on a lot of good players.
- Klubnik made a decision in a moment that if it works, everybody would go wow, but it didn’t work, there was nothing to read, it was a straight handoff with no read, zero read, just give the back the ball.
- No consideration going to another quarterback, said Klubnik is their guy.
- Would love to have Williams and Turner in the receiving rotation but they have enough, they are still good enough there with the rest of the guys.