Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney looked forward to the Tiger’s matchup with Auburn on Wednesday’s ACC teleconference.
The biggest thing for us as a team as we move through this week in practice to try to continue to get better. We are 2-0 and we feel fortunate to be 2-0 and you know we feel like we are improving in some areas and definitely have got a lot work still to do.
But I like this football team and we are excited about the opportunity this week in playing Auburn. Obviously they have got the longest winning streak in the country and they have earned that, and we have got a tough task in front of us to try to knock these guys off.
But you know, we are looking forward to having a great environment here Saturday, and hopefully playing our first truly complete game of the season, because that’s probably what it’s going to take to beat these guys.
Q. How hard is it to keep your team focused on winning the game and not trying to seek revenge from the overtime loss last year?
That’s not a real big motivating factor. That might be something more for the fans or something. We are just – go through our normal process. Our formula for success doesn’t change regardles of who we play or where we play or when we play. It’s really irrevlevant to us as a team. We just focus on trying to practice the right way, and making sure our effort is where it needs to be and our commitment and just work to the standard that we have set. That’s really what we focus on, and watch film and prepare.
They all know that this is a great opportunity for us, and that it’s a team that we know a lot about, but they also know a lot about us.
Q. In your opinion, where is your team struggling the most after facing opponents like Wofford and not being able to beat them handily?
That always amuses me when I hear people talk about that. Nobody ever wants to give the opponent any credit. They are championship programs, and they are tough outs for anybody. So you know, we are very proud to be 2-0. Do we want to play better? Do we have to play better? Yes. But the objective is to win that game and whatever you’ve got to do to win that game.
So you know, that’s really all we are focused on. There’s a lot of areas we have to improve in and really just consistency to having good, crisp execution.
Defensively, we have got to tackle better. That’s something that we have not done a great job of, and we have got to minimize the big plays and just play with some poise. We are playing a lot of young guys and got to keep growing those guys up offensively. We are doing a lot of good things there.
Q. With the speculation nationally about the advancement of super conferences merging and the 16-team leagues, you’ve played these games against Auburn and Alabama and I’m sure they have been beneficial to your program, if schools start playing nine and ten game conference schedules; there a reaston that might be less likely to scheule these big interconference matchups like this?
Well, I mean, I think that those things would go away for sure, if we get into some kind of mega- conference type deal. And I have no idea if that’s were it’s going. You kno, there’s a lot of speculation, a lot of people talking about all that stuff. I really at this point – I literally don’t pay it any attention. Just got a job to do and I know it’s above me. That’s more the president’s level right now as far as what’s going on.
But it seems to be picking up some momentum and if it goes that route, I don’t think you’ll see games like this, which to me, is sad. I’ve always been a traditionalist with college football and I love some of the great rivalries that you have. It’s great to see Alabama play Penn State and that type of stuff.
You know, I don’t think you’ll be able to do that if you’re having 16 or 20 teams in a conference. Change is inevitable it seems and we’ll just have to see how the landscape goes and then it will all shake out from there. But I have no idea right now how it’s going to shake out.
Q. Do you get the sense that is one thing that players like about coming to Clemson that you guys do consistently schedule these games?
I think people like coming to Clemson because it’s Clemson. We are in a great conference and we have an incredible environment here and a great fan base and an incredible game day experience, high academic standards, great coaches, great support and resources.
I think that’s why they come to Clemson, because of those things. They know if you come to Clemson, you’re going to play a great schedule and great teams and have a chance to win. But that’s probably the biggest reason, not who we are playing.
Q. You have experience playing them last year; can you talk about that experience and do you expect this year to be the same?
Well, the last two times we played Auburn they have been overtime and unfortunately Clemson has come out on the short end of both of those. I expect it to be a very hard-fought game.
I know our team is excited to play, and they are going to try to defend this turf with everything they have got and try to find a way to win the game. I mean, I don’t doubt that at all. But Io also kow that Auburn is going to do everything they can to extend the streak. That’s what they do.
And last year was a very physical game. We just made a couple more mistakes – at the end of thae day, we had some really critical missed opportunities that you have to make to win those types of games. And really, things that weren’t totally in our contral that we didnt’ take advantage of, and that was the biggest disappointment of that game was really just more things that we didn’t do.
And it was a great football game, and I hate that it ended the way it did. But I would expect another hard-fought game for sure.