Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says the third-ranked Tigers are charging up their batteries so they can make a strong five-week run to close the regular season.
Clemson has this Saturday off before heading to No. 15 Florida State on Oct. 29 for an important ACC Atlantic Division Showdown in Tallahassee, Florida.
“Today was a tough day. We had meetings and then a full pads practice. We got after it. There was a lot of individual and a lot of fundamental work. There was a good bit of good-on-good today,” Swinney said following Wednesday’s practice in Clemson. “There was a lot of good work towards our next opponent. So you try to get a good foundation in place this week, so when we come back and we get plugged back into practice on Monday we are that much further ahead.
“It is not a normal week on Monday because we are not starting from scratch. There is a good balance of things, self-evaluating, self-scouting and studying each other.”
The Tigers (7-0, 4-0 ACC) are trying to improve in a lot of areas, especially with the turnovers where they have turned the ball over 10 times in the last three games and have five red zone turnovers, officially, in the last three games.
Clemson ranks 122 in turnovers committed and 54th overall in turnover margin. The Seminoles rank 17th nationally in turnover margin at plus-six and are ranked ninth in takeaways with 15.
“We are going to have to play very well to have a chance to beat these guys,” Swinney said. “Obviously, we have to take care of the ball. If we take care of the ball, we are going to be alright. We are going to have a chance … We have a lot of respect for them. They are still Florida State. The Louisville game was an enigma. I mean, that one got away quick and it was over. That is not a gauge. I have been on both sides of that, too. You can’t really measure anything from that game. The North Carolina game came down to a 54-yard kick.
“This is a really good football team. They have lost to two good teams. We will get the best they have and we know that. But for us, it is to make sure they get the best we have.”
Spending time with the Skalski family. While the other coaches hit the road on Friday to watch recruits, Swinney is actually going to Sharpsburg, Georgia to be with freshman linebacker James Skalski and his family.
Skalski’s father passed away suddenly last Friday.
“I’m looking forward to seeing James on Friday, his mom and his sister. The funeral for his dad is this weekend. Just continue to keep them in our prayers,” the Clemson coach said.
Baker is ready. Swinney said defensive back Adrian Baker (ACL) is ready to play when the Tigers visit the Seminoles.
The redshirt junior has been practicing at full speed in practice and is back in the regular mix. The thing now for Baker is about getting back in the mix and competing against his teammates for playing time.
Baker injured his knee last March and had surgery to repair his ACL.
Other injuries. Swinney said running back Wayne Gallman (concussion) is doing well. He said Gallman has no symptoms from the hit he took in Saturday’s win over NC State. Swinney reported Gallman got hit hard in the ear and that the area around the ear and the jaw was sore after the game.
Gallman, who is expected to be back from practice next week, has been wearing a yellow jersey in practice this week, while being held out due to concussion protocol.
“The only thing wrong with him this week is that he is mad because he has to wear a yellow jersey in practice,” Swinney said.
Linebacker Jalen Williams (knee) will be ready to go when the Tigers take on FSU. Swinney said the sophomore was available to play last week against NC State, but because of the way the game was schemed up he did not play.
“It was more of a Ryan Carter Day at nickel,” Swinney said.
Swinney said Dorian O’Daniel did not play much either against the Wolfpack for the same reason.