Back in the hunt

Back in the hunt

Football

Back in the hunt

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By Will Vandervort.

By Will Vandervort

CLEMSON — Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says Florida State’s loss to NC State Saturday night does get his team one step closer to being back in the hunt in the ACC’s Atlantic Division race, but it means very little if the Tigers don’t take care of their own business.

Since losing to the Seminoles two weeks ago, Clemson (5-1, 2-1 ACC) has had handled its business quite nicely. The Tigers went on the road on Sept. 29 and beat Boston College, 45-31, and then came back home in front of 81,000 inside Death Valley Saturday and beat their nemesis, Georgia Tech, 47-31.

“Our optimism has been very positive,” Swinney said during his Sunday teleconference with the media. “(The Florida State) game is in the rearview mirror and it has nothing to do with us having a great season. It’s in our control as far as us having a very good season.

“Now, we were disappointed we did not win that game, but there is nothing out there about these guys being down and not being able to go and have a great year. Anything can happen, everyone knows it is a long season so the biggest thing is we have to focus on controlling what we can control and that’s really all we can do.”

What Clemson has to do is keep winning to have a shot at truly defending its ACC Title. Looking at the Tigers remaining schedule, the opportunity to win and win a lot seems promising. Four of Clemson’s final six games are in Death Valley, where it has won 10 straight, and the two road games—at Wake Forest and at Duke—the Tigers more than likely will be favored in them.

Florida State on the other hand has a little harder route to get them to Charlotte, N.C. Though the Seminoles own the tiebreaker thanks to their win over Clemson on Sept. 22, they still have road trips at Miami and at Virginia Tech, which will be a Thursday night game at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va.

“If things work out, great,” Swinney said. “When you lose that game, that’s kind of the position you put yourself in. So we don’t have control of our destiny, we will need some help. But that will not matter if we don’t take care of what we do control and that is the game in front of us.

“That’s the mentality of our team and all of that other stuff is really irrelevant if you don’t stay focused on what you are doing. I’m proud of our team because they have done just that.”

Time to take a break. Clemson will not play next week due to an open date, which Swinney says comes at a good time. The Tigers head coach says they will use the extra week to heal some minor injuries, work on the fundamentals and overall just get better.

Clemson will practice Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this coming week. They will watch film and hold position meetings on Tuesday, but they will also have their community service day as well.

Swinney will give the players Friday, Saturday and Sunday off before reconvening next Monday, which is fall break at the university.

Clemson slips in one poll. What? Clemson slipped to No. 16 in the latest Associated Press College football poll released Sunday, despite a solid victory over Georgia Tech. The Tigers climbed two spots to No. 13 in the Coaches poll, though.

Injury notes. There is really nothing to add to the injury list except some bumps and bruises Swinney says the open week will allow to heal. The only new injury that could have been serious had Clemson played this week, was Brandon Ford’s sprained ankle.

Swinney said he would have been questionable if Clemson was playing next Saturday, but he says he expects his starting tight end will be ready to play when Clemson takes on Virginia Tech on Oct. 20 in Death Valley.

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