It’s Tuesday in the real world but for the Clemson football team it’s a Thursday as far as their preparation for Thursday night’s game at NC State. The Tigers have practically completed their game planning for the Wolfpack and hope they are better prepared than they were the last time they went to Raleigh.
Two years ago State embarrassed a then 7th ranked Clemson team 37-13. The Tigers got their revenge last season in Death Valley winning a shootout 62-48. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd accounted for 8 touchdowns and had 529 yards of total offense including 426 thru the air.
This year’s Tiger team will carry a #3 national ranking into its ACC opener and is a 14.5 point favorite to spoil Dave Doeren’s ACC debut. The first year coach of the Pack is off to a 2-0 start following wins over Louisiana Tech and Richmond.
Here are some of Dabo Swinney’s key comments from his Tuesday press conference:
- NC State has great players and it’s a tough place to go on the road and win. Tigers will need their best performance thus far.
- Impressed with what NC State is doing, similar to some of the things Clemson does. State wants to run the football.
- Loves the running backs and impressed by the quarterback. Offensive line is big.
- Receivers have caught the ball well thus far, impressed by freshman Marquez Valdez-Scantling.
- Lots of shifts and motions and State will try to out flank you. Try to get the ball to the perimeter in the screen game.
- State defense looks very good especially up front, the best they’ve seen this season, and the placekicker has been perfect this season.
- Charone Peake will have his knee surgery right before the Boston College game and should be back by spring practice.
- Adam Humphries will move into Peake’s spot and he’s a “special player.” Has considered Humphries as a starter all along.
- Mike Williams, TJ Green and Germone Hopper will be called up to step up at wide receiver with Peake out.
- Expects that Peake will be able to get a redshirt ruling this season and they are working on that.
- Rod McDowell has been practicing every day and will be ready to go Thursday. He had been dealing with a concussion.
- DB Mackenzie Alexander has been working with the team but will have another MRI to see where he is. After Wake Forest game he’ll be reevaluated.
- Very encouraged with defensive line after two games, playing fast and physical, has made their presence known.
- Not a great football right now Swinney says, “maybe we will be,” Swinney said he’s not caught up in the rankings at this point.
- Swinney says their schedule gives them a chance to compete at the highest level.
Clemson leads the series with State 52-28-1 and has won 18 of 34 games in Raleigh. The Tigers have won 8 of the last 10 meetings. Thursday’s game will kickoff at 7:30 and be televised by ESPN.