From this point on it’s about the details.
Clemson wrapped up its last physical practice of the week on Wednesday and now all the second-ranked Tigers have left to do is iron out a few of the wrinkles and get ready to play Auburn on the Plains on Saturday at 9 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The ACC’s Tigers will have a lite practice on Thursday, which is typical during the regular season, and will do a 30-minute walkthrough on Friday.
“We got plenty of time. It is all mental. It is all about details from this point on,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said following practice. “The physical part is past us so it really is just getting them dialed in and staying focused on what we have to do.”
Who will be the backup quarterback? On Tuesday, Clemson released its depth chart for the Auburn game as it listed Nick Schuessler and Kelly Bryant as co-No. 2s at the quarterback position behind starter Deshaun Watson.
Swinney later said it will be a game-time decision on who will be the backup. When asked again on Wednesday, the Clemson head coach reaffirmed his stance on the topic.
“I’m very confident in both of those guys … very confident,” Swinney said. “I’m very pleased with what we have gotten from those two guys. That’s one of those situations that is probably going to take some playing time to kind of get that final piece of evaluation, but we are really pleased with both of them and comfortable. I think we can win with either one.”
Making it loud. Clemson spent a good bit of Wednesday’s practice with Auburn’s version of Tiger Rag blaring on the loud speakers. That’s a typical strategy by Swinney as he tries to get his team used to what the crowd noise might be like on Saturday night.
Swinney said hearing the Auburn fight song was better than what they had playing earlier in the week, a popular 1980s rap song by Tone Loc.
“You can only hear Funky Cold Medina so many times,” he said jokingly. “It is good to get a little different tune out there.
“It kind of means we are getting close. All teams do that. You know it is going to be really loud for the offense and it will be really quiet for the defense. The defense really has more issues with noise when we play at home.”
It will be a difference story for the offense as close to 90,000 people will be screaming against Clemson when it has the football.
“It will be a big challenge for our offense to be able to communicate properly, and not have a bunch of pre-snap penalties,” Swinney said. “Those are the types of things you worry about in an opener like this. Guys get a little tired or something and the next thing you know guys are saying, ‘I didn’t see the signal’ or whatever.
“We are just trying to create that type of atmosphere at practice. Obviously, you can’t simulate 90,000, but we can get it as loud as we want and make it as challenging at practice as we can. That’s what we are going to try to do today and we will have a little bit more of that tomorrow. I thought they handled it pretty well today.”
Baker wears yellow jersey. Swinney says cornerback Adrian Baker is doing much better. The Clemson coach said the redshirt junior is doing all of his cutting this week, and they are hopeful he is back in practice and at least in a green jersey in a couple of weeks.
Baker, who had surgery to repair a torn ACL in the spring, was wearing a yellow jersey on Wednesday and walked back to the locker rooms from practice instead of taking the tram. A yellow jersey means a player can do very limited things in practice and cannot participate in any individual or contact drills.
Swinney is still hopeful Baker will be available to play sometime in October.