Clemson’s goal this week: Start fast, finish strong


There will be no messing around on Saturday when No. 3 Clemson host S.C. State at Death Valley.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney wants to see his Tigers get after the Bulldogs, which is a much different approach than what they had in last week’s win over Troy.

Last week, the Clemson coaches were worried about getting more of the inexperienced players some meaningful playing in crucial situations. However, it nearly backfired as the Trojans gave the Tigers a run for their money and were an onside kick away from having an opportunity to win the game.

This Saturday, Swinney does not want to leave anything up to chance. The Tigers are favored by 40 points over the Bulldogs and Swinney wants his team to play like the favorites.

“I want to see a fast start and a strong finish. I want to see the team play with crisp execution,” Swinney said Thursday during an interview on SirusXM’s College Sports Nation. “Make the plays that are there to be made. Really, just pick up where we left off this past week because we did have a strong finish offensively.”

The Tigers (2-0) had two touchdown drives and a field goal to close out the game, after sputtering most of the afternoon, offensively.

For the most part, Swinney has liked the way the defense has played through two games, but he wants to see them finish the game this week. In each of the first two weeks, Clemson allowed touchdowns in the final few minutes, allowing the opposition an opportunity to still win the game.

“Defensively, I want to see us play four quarters,” Swinney said. “Play four quarters, not fifty five minutes. Not fifty nine minutes and twenty seconds. Let’s play a complete game and continue to have the type of improvement we have had on special teams, and also continue to develop the depth of our team.”

Swinney said it’s important for his team to play sharp, especially with the Georgia Tech game (next Thursday night) being such a quick turnaround.

“We are going to play two games in five days so we are going to really have to rely on our depth a little bit on Saturday,” he said. “That is really it. Just a cleaner execution and see that mentality that we talked about all week.”

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