Clemson continued with head coach Dabo Swinney’s press conference and player interviews on Tuesday to discuss the next big challenge, at date with No. 12 Florida State in Tallahassee, Florida. The Tigers have a high appreciation for the talent that their ACC Atlantic Division rival possess, and they know they need to be dialed in for the matchup on Saturday (8 p.m., ABC).
Here is what we heard:
Swinney said in his press conference that running back Wayne Gallman will be good to go on Saturday.
“He’s going to play great. He practiced the whole practice and didn’t miss a rep. He’ll play great on Saturday,” Swinney said.
“Breaking news, Wayne Gallman is going to play Saturday at 8:22 p.m.”
The Clemson offense may be getting back one of its key playmakers, but linebacker Kendall Joseph said the defense is focused on the Seminole’s game-changing player – running back Dalvin Cook.
“Florida State has its own different animal, Dalvin Cook. He has exceptional talent and I think they do a great job of getting him the ball as many times as they can and using the right schemes to help him break good runs,” Joseph said. “He is a great back. He is breaking a lot of tackles and making all the plays. For us, it will be a great challenge because you always look forward to shutting down a great back.”
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables had high praise for Florida State’s quarterback, Deondre Francois. Venables even compared him to Louisville’s Lamar Jackson.
“They are good decision makers and are big strong talented guys that are well coached in quarterback driven offenses. There are a lot more similarities than they are differences,” Venables said.
Joseph agreed, adding that his ability to run makes defending him harder.
“He is not as fast and the scheme is not the same as how they use him, but he is a really good passer,” Joseph said. “He stays in the pocket and when he gets out of the pocket he runs and gets extra yards so it is already tough because when you are playing coverage you might have him locked down and then he takes off and gets about five or six yards. It will be up to us to have great eyes and look to stop his running.”
Clemson has not won in Tallahassee since 2006, and the Tigers are determined to turn that around.
“We have accomplished a lot as a program and that’s one thing we haven’t done, so that’s what we look to do this week and come out with a big win,” defensive lineman Christian Wilkins said.
Joseph said Venables helps prepare the defense for any challenge by continuously having his linebackers watch film.
“Coach V does not give it a break ever. That is what makes him great. It can be 20 minutes before we go out there to warm up and he has found something new he wants to tell us. He will send us videos when he is in his hotel room and you can see his face in like the reflection of the computer. It’s like, do you sleep? He is just like sitting there, and when he finds something new, he sends us videos. That is what makes him great. He is relentless, man. He wants us to succeed and he does a great job of giving us keys and tips to help us succeed,” Joseph said.