Ready to Rock the Valley

Ready to Rock the Valley

Football

Ready to Rock the Valley

By

By Trey McCurry.

Heading into Saturday’s Homecoming game with Miami, more fan talk has been centered on the game time than the actual game. In his weekly press conference, second-year head coach Dabo Swinney addressed that. “It is Homecoming in Clemson, and that is always a special time. We will have former players back to lead Tiger Walk before the game. I want the fans to get here early and lets get ready to rock the Valley. This is the best venue in college football when it is rocking. Lets be early, loud, and make it a great experience for everyone here and watching on TV. We had a record 125 decibels the last time they were here so lets make it 126 this time. The fans have a great opportunity to set the tempo and get this thing rolling.” 

Entering a historic stretch of eight straight ACC games in eight weeks, the Tigers had a good open date. “We had a good open date and the key thing was we have gotten healthy. We have a tough road ahead with nine straight games (and hopefully 10 if we make it to the ACC Championship Game). We talk about running the race to win, and we are trying to do that, but with this stretch we also have to run it with endurance. It’s ACC play and the opportunity for us to work towards our next goal (of defending our Atlantic Division title).  I think we have the personnel and chemistry to be a good team, now we have to go create some momentum for ourselves.” 

As for Miami, the Tigers will face a tough task, especially for a Homecoming opponent. “They have good personnel and are a talented team in all areas so we should see a heck of a game.” 

“On offense, the Hurricanes are very balanced and use multiple formations including getting into unbalanced sets, which will create some challenges for us. They have very talented skill players. Harris is a good player that can make all the throws. He is a very good deep ball passer and they will send the ball down the field often. 47 and 85 are both big receivers and then 3 can fly. They have played four running backs and we could see all four Saturday. The bottom line is that we have to get after Harris and make it an uncomfortable day for him. We have to tackle, not give up the big chunk, and go make them earn it.” 

“Defensively, Coach Lovett is a guy I am very familiar with. They are in his second year and you can see it on film. They have seven starters back on defense, but they play a lot of guys. Their defense as a whole is the best we have played. Their secondary is loaded with talent and a lot of those guys will play on Sundays.  They lead the nation in tackles for loss and are second in sacks. With us not allowing many sacks that will be a battle. We have to make the plays that are there to be made in order to win the game.” 

Last season, the bye week was a turning point for the team and Swinney addressed that area with this years team. “I just think you have to evaluate yourself and be honest about where you are. They see the film. For us, again I am more encouraged than discouraged. We have the ingredients of a good football team. We have a good foundation. That is how they went back to work this week. they went right back to work. The leadership has been very good. They understand we had an opportunity and why we didn’t win. It is all about us. It is about how we prepare. We are good enough. We are good enough to lineup and compete and win games. It is about us. The goal is to move forward. One thing I have told the team is I hope they will remember the Auburn Tigers. Lets not forget what happens when we don’t take care of business. Remember what happens when we have a lull.” 

After the Auburn game, Clemson had some injuries to Kyle Parker, David Smith, and Spencer Shuey. “David is out for this game, but he is making some good progress. Shuey is questionable, but will likely be upgraded later this week. Parker is good and looked really good yesterday. He took every practice rep and will be 100% ready to go. We will put him in more of a protective pad to protect that spot but he is ready to go.” 

With the last three Miami games all being decided in overtime, Swinney is just hoping “we can win in regulation…it would be nice.”

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