Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, at his weekly news conference Tuesday, quickly acknowledged how well Florida State played and how poorly his team played in the Seminoles’ surprisingly one-sided victory last Saturday night. However, Swinney wanted to make it clear his belief is that game was an anomaly and that the Tigers are still a top 10 team.
In fact, Swinney stated the opinion that if Clemson played Florida State ten times, the teams would split those games.
Swinney said the immediate focus starting on Sunday was to look at the mistakes in the Florida State game and work to correct them with an emphasis on doing the small things better. He did not agree with offensive coordinator Chad Morris’ assessment Monday that only left tackle Brandon Thomas is playing well on offense.
As for Maryland this Saturday, Swinney noted the numerous injuries suffered by the Terps have made them a different team than earlier in the season. Yet, Maryland is 5-2 and playing at home and the Tigers struggled to win there two years ago.
Key comments from Swinney’s press conference:
- Maryland is 5-2 and having a good season and they have it going back in right direction.
- Maryland is undefeated at home, a little bit of a different team at home.
- Little bit of challenge because of injuries at Maryland and figuring out their personnel.
- CJ Brown at quarterback really hurt Clemson two years ago.
- Guys are eager to play again after the Florida State loss and that’s a good thing.
- Going for 7th win in a row away from home, and that would be the longest streak in 35 years.
- Message to the staff: “Lets major in the minors this week.” Swinney wants improvement in fundamentals like ball protection.
- Morris “maybe a little over the top” in saying yesterday only Brandon Thomas playing well on offense.
- 17-3 in their last 20 with those losses to good teams. Said they will get it fixed from the FSU game.
- If they played Florida State ten times the teams would probably split the games.
- Gary Peters is out for this week. Cordrea Tankersley will work at corner. Breeland is out for the first half of the Maryland game.
- Tigers can still win 11 games in back to back seasons, something never done at Clemson before.
- Heard about the internet rumblings about Boyd and gambling and has no knowledge of that and has no reason to believe it.
Clemson is 6-1 and 4-1 in the ACC, Maryland is 5-2 and 1-2. Clemson leads the series 33-26-2 and has won the last three meetings. On the last trip to College Park in 2011, the Tigers fell behind by 18 points before rallying for a 56-45 win, the second greatest comeback in school history. Sammy Watkins had a Clemson record 345 all purpose yards in that game.
With Maryland moving to the Big Ten next year, this is the final regularly scheduled game between the teams with the series dating back to 1952. This will end Clemson’s longest continuing rivalry against another ACC team. In fact, Clemson’s first ACC game was against Maryland on October 20, 1853, a 20-0 Maryland victory.
Saturday’s game will kickoff at 3:30 PM and will be televised on ESPN.