The message to the Clemson football team during the off week was “recommit.”
Recommit to their team goals, recommit to their individual goals, recommit to each other.
“What do you really want to do for this season and this team,” quarterback Deshaun Watson said on Monday as the third-ranked Tigers prepare to travel to No. 13 Florida State on Saturday.
It’s not like the Tigers (7-0, 4-0 ACC) were not already committed, last week was just an opportunity for them to reflect on the first half of the season and kind of review how they got here.
Though Clemson’s win-loss record is perfect, the Tigers have been anything but perfect on the football field in their seven wins to this point in the season. Four of Clemson’s seven wins have been by seven points or less, including their Oct. 15 win over NC State in which they turned the football over four times. The offense also turned the ball over five times in a win over Louisville on Oct. 1.
“If we can have a game with no turnovers and fully execute on offense, defense and special teams, then that will be our best game, but this week in practice will decide that,” running back Wayne Gallman said.
Watson said the point of the Tigers’ off-week was to go back and see their goals, kind of revisit the things they wanted to be in the off-season.
One of the things they want to be in the off-season was to be the offense in the country. So far, they are not even close to living up to the lofty expectations they put on themselves. Heading into Saturday’s primetime game (8 p.m. on ABC), Clemson ranks 35th nationally in total offense (474.3) and 26th in scoring (36.6).
“Just recommit what you want to do for this season,” Watson said. “What are your goals for yourself and what are your goals for this team? It is so easy to get sucked into the season and forget what you really want to achieve for this team and for this season.”
So have the Tigers reached most of those goals to this point?
“We are 7-0. I think we reached our goals so far,” Watson said. “That’s where we wanted to be. We are in the perfect position to control our own destiny. We just have to continue to do what we do and handle each week as it is own and move forward from there.”
Unlike last year, when Clemson’s bye week came in Week 4 of the season, Watson says there is a better chance for the team to build momentum and finish strong in the back half of the season.
“It was a good chance to look over those goals, recommit, get back to the basics and regroup. Just make sure you review those goals and see how close and how much are you really trying to achieve those goals,” Watson said.