A year ago today, the Clemson Tigers celebrated New Year’s Eve 2012 with a victory over ninth-ranked (Associated Press) LSU at the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Clemson ended 2013 with final two-hour practice in pads as the Tigers prepare to take on another top 10 team, the seventh ranked (Associated Press) Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl.
If Clemson can defeat Ohio State on Friday night, it would give Clemson consecutive seasons with a bowl win over a top 10 team (AP poll), the only team in the nation that could make that claim.
To make that happen Dabo Swinney knows his team must pay attention to detail like it did in the 25-24 win in the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl. “We are close to ready,” said Swinney, who has led the Tigers to at least 10 wins each of the last three years, a first for the Clemson program since the 1987-90 era. “This was our 13th practice for this bowl game and we are at the point of polishing off some things. You need to put your gameplan in for a bowl game back at Clemson and we did that. We have had two solid days of preparation in terms of practice and meetings.”
Swinney mentioned that Clemson and Ohio State might be more familiar with each other than people would think. While the teams have not played since 1978, the two staffs met last spring. “Ohio State’s staff came to Clemson last spring and we met for two days in an exchange of ideas. We certainly never thought about playing in a bowl at that point.
“We lied about some of the things we told them,” joked Swinney. “We just talked football for a couple of days, something most teams do each spring.”
Swinney was asked to compare Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and Florida State Heisman Trophy Winner Jameis Winston. “Both players are great within their respective systems. They play to their strengths. That is what is so tough about them.
“ Braxton is a terrific runner and passer. He is a 4.4 guy. Our quarterback (Tajh Boyd) is an outstanding runner as well, but he doesn’t run a 4.4. Winston does not run as much, but he does a great job of using the elements he has around him. Both are very strong young men.”
The Tigers will hold their third and final Florida practice at Barry University on Wednesday afternoon. It will be the final practice for Clemson’s 19 practices, including quarterback Tajh Boyd, who hopes to tie the Clemson record for wins by a starting quarterback with a victory over Ohio State. Rodney Williams had 32 wins between 1985-88 and Boyd has 31 entering Friday night’s game.
Story by Clemson Sports Information
Here’s the video of Swinney’s meeting with the media Tuesday: