BOSTON COLLEGE, Mass. — Since third-ranked Clemson showed a lack of focus in its six-point win over Troy on Sept. 10, head coach Dabo Swinney has challenged his team to treat every opponent it plays the same way.
It’s the same mantra and culture the Tigers have used during much of their 42-game winning streak against unranked opponents. It’s the same sentiment they will use today when they visit unranked Boston College at Alumni Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
“He has been on our butts these past couple of weeks in meetings and stuff like that, really just emphasizing the point of being ready and not taking any days off,” Clemson running back Wayne Gallman said.
That’s the problem this week. The Tigers (5-0, 2-0 ACC) have not had a day off. The day after an emotional, 42-36, victory over No. 7 Louisville, they were back on the practice fields on Sunday evening prepping for today’s ACC Atlantic Division showdown with the Eagles.
It also doesn’t help, from a motivational standpoint, that they are playing a Boston College (3-2, 0-2 ACC) team that has lost 10 straight conference games.
With all of that, it might be understandable if Clemson has a letdown, right?
“No because each game is very exciting,” quarterback Deshaun Watson said. “You only get twelve opportunities to play. You work so hard in the off-season and throughout the week preparing for those Saturdays.
“Each game is very special. Each one is like a championship game for us. At the end of the day, we go out there and have the same mentality and play to a standard. If we do that, then every game is going to be exciting and fun and it will feel like a championship game.”
Watson said the key this week for him and his teammates was to get as much rest as they could and take care of their bodies. He also said it was important they took advantage of their time and got caught up on their film study.
“You have to make sure you are prepared for battle. Each team we play is going to give hundred percent to try and beat us,” he said. “We have to be ready to go out there for a battle for four quarters. We have to go out there and do what we do.”
One thing is for certain. If Clemson does not, it can count on Boston College taking advantage of it. The Eagles always play the Tigers tough, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says tough than anybody else, and he expects the same effort from BC again tonight.
“It is another big challenge for us. They always play tough and every time we go up there it is always a battle,” he said. “In fact, two or three times up there we have been fortunate to come away with the win and that was the case two years ago when we won 17-13.
“We know what we have in store for us and we have great respect for Boston College.”