Clemson’s schedule has finally returned to normal after the third-ranked Tigers completed their Thursday and Friday night challenges. Clemson is now preparing to take on NC State at noon on Saturday in Death Valley.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his weekly Tuesday press conference to discuss the upcoming opponent.
Here is what we heard:
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables knows Clemson’s defense will have to prepare for a talented offensive unit. One player from the Wolfpack he specifically mentioned as a threat quarterback Ryan Finely, who is a graduate transfer from Boise State.
“He’s a veteran guy that’s in a system that he’s very familiar with, so it’s not his first time going out there playing and competing and leading,” Venables said. “So, they’re fortunate to get a good pickup like that, along with his coach. Between the two of them, I think they understand the system inside and out, and it shows in how they’re playing, how effective they’ve been in installing a new system and really being even more productive than they were a year ago.”
Another player Swinney stressed that NC State uses as a threat is tight end Jaylen Samuels.
“They use him in a lot of ways. It’s hard to really classify him,” Swinney said. “He’s kind of a tweener, but he can run it, he can catch it, he blocks.”
Swinney challenged the fans on Saturday to show up and get loud for a game at noon, just like they did for Louisville at night. He said the fans make a difference, and he urges the Clemson fan base to stand behind the Tigers no matter what time they play.
“I know there are some people out there that are not happy with us playing a noon game, but we don’t have any control of that,” Swinney said. “Sometimes I think people don’t understand that. I love night games, too, but we don’t have any control of that. That’s what I tell our players. We have to play great whenever we play. Whether we play at noon, three, eight, nine or one in the morning, we have to play great. That is what we are supposed to do. I would say the same thing to our fans because they make such a huge difference. I mean a huge difference. We started the game out against Louisville with two penalties in a row, I mean right out of the gate.”
This ACC matchup provides Clemson the opportunity to take on the team currently ranked second in the Atlantic Division. Swinney said it is a great opportunity to help work towards some of Clemson’s season goals.
“It’s a huge game. It’s a battle for first place in our division, and gives us an opportunity to try to get to 7-0 and stay on course for our next goal, which is win the division so we have an opportunity to play in the ACC championship game,” Swinney said.
Tight end Jordan Leggett said the same, and added how talented NC State’s defense is.
“They’re definitely more technically sound. They have a bunch of big guys up front. The defensive ends weigh around 260, 270 but they have guys weighing 290. So, they’re very big bodied. They’re all seniors on the defense, seniors and juniors, so they’re very experienced. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us,” Leggett said. “Its really just us two left in the conference. After this game, someone is going to have an extra loss in the conference.”