Swinney excited to have ‘all hands on deck’ on defense Saturday against FSU

by David Hood

Senior Writer

CLEMSON – Thanks to the cancellation of the 2020 game after Florida State had COVID concerns, most of Clemson’s players have never played at Florida State’s Doak Campbell Stadium. Head coach
Dabo Swinney expects a great environment, and for the first time all season, it looks like most of his defense will be able to play.

No. 4 Clemson takes on Florida St. at 7:30 pm Saturday night in primetime (ABC). Swinney said his players are looking forward to the test.

“I think anytime you’re in competition and you have the opportunity to go play in a great environment, it’s fun. You love a challenge like that,” Swinney said after Wednesday’s practice. “So I think they’re definitely looking forward to it. We don’t have many guys who have been there. Just kind of weird. Just like the BC (Boston College) game. We had a couple of guys that have been there as well, but a lot of these guys have been there at some point or another along the way. But it will be an awesome environment. And sure it will be a great day.”

The Tigers had a recording of the Seminole band playing the “war chant” at practices this week as Swinney prepared his team for the noise.

“A lot of noise, for sure. A lot of noise. That’s the best thing you can do is try to make it as unrealistic at practice as you can so that when they get there, they’re not overwhelmed by that,” Swinney said. “It will be loud and all. That be a great environment, but you just try to prepare them for the type of focus that they have to have to execute what we need to do, and then they (FSU) have good players. So make sure you get enough good on good type work during the week so that they’re ready and they’re sharp.”

All except for cornerback Sheridan Jones possibly, it sounds like the Tigers will be as healthy as they’ve been all season.

“I’m really excited. I’m super pumped to have all hands on deck,” Swinney said. “They’ve all been there at one point or another, but having everybody available at one time? We really haven’t had that just yet. So hopefully, we’ll be able to really play at a high level and play sharp, play smart, keep guys fresh. But we have a tough challenge on our hands, especially with this quarterback they got. But it’s great. I’m really happy to have Bryan (Bresee) back. I’m excited for him. Obviously, he’s been through a lot. It’s been good to watch him in practice and obviously get some of these secondary guys back as well.”

On Florida St. limiting explosive plays

“Well, they’ve been in their system for a couple of years. I mean, they’ve got some experienced guys. I think they have, I think, it’s seven starters back on that side of the ball, and then they bring in the Verse (defensive end Jared Verse) kid, who’s an All-American. He’s played a lot of balls. They have good players. And again, those two safeties are big-time NFL dudes. They have played a lot of ball. Both the corners, all three linebackers, really good players. And the same thing with the guys up front they’re just more experienced in their system and those guys have done a great job coaching them up, but a lot more continuity, I think, with them this year than maybe what they’ve had .”

On if the FSU receivers will be a challenge

“Oh, yes, absolutely. They’re a big challenge. 80 (Ontaria Wilson) is a very seasoned veteran, very good player. I really like his game. I think 4 (Mycah Pittman), he’s a great slot. He does a lot of good stuff. He makes some competitive plays back, shoulder balls and uses them in a lot of different ways. And then that big number 14 (Johnny Wilson), he’s a giant. I mean, you can have a guy there, but making the play on him is difficult. And then their tight end is a really good player. They find him, use him. They’re a complete group and they’ve got three of the best backs that you’re going to see and then a quarterback who can fly around. So they have really good personnel and they know how to use their personnel to present challenges and to attack you. It definitely will be a big task to play well against these guys.”

Check out the 11th edition of David Hood’s TigerNet Podcast at this link or find it on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.


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