After an overtime victory last Saturday, third-ranked Clemson is enjoying a little break from the usual grind of the schedule.
The Tigers have a bye week before they make the trek to Tallahassee, Florida on Oct. 29 and visit No. 15 Florida State, who also has the week off. Head coach Dabo Swinney did not hold his usual press conference.
However, co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott and a few players spoke with the media before heading to Greenville for a community service event.
Here is what we heard:
Scott was asked about his decision to not put freshman running back Tavien Feaster in the game. Scott said that Feaster along with talented freshmen receivers Diondre Overton and Cornell Powell will have plenty of opportunities in the future, but they wanted to put in more experienced athletes against NC State.
“That’s not a time to break a guy out. Last week against Boston College we’re up by a bunch, so we gave guys opportunities to go out and make plays, and they did that. That’s a different situation than when the game’s on the line every single play,” Scott said. “But we like Tavien. He’s going to be a great player, there’s no doubt about it. And when the times present themselves for him to get opportunities, then he’ll get those opportunities.”
Scott said that the most disappointing aspect of last Saturday’s win was the fact that Clemson turned the ball over four times, three of which occurred in the red zone.
“If we don’t turn the ball over it’s a completely different game,” Scott said. “You are going to address it, you are going to coach it in practice like we have been doing, maybe find some drill in the open week to help the guys with it but it’s not something we are going to make a huge deal about. I think the wrong way to go is to really pound these guys about it. They aren’t trying to turn the ball over. They are trying to make plays.”
Although Clemson does not have a game this Saturday, Scott knows the Tigers will face a true test in going up against Florida State’s stout defensive front.
“FSU will obviously be a big challenge. We have not won down there since 2006. That is something that will definitely be talked about, and our guys will be looking forward to going down there and doing well. Probably the most talented defensive front that we’ll face this year,” Scott said. “(DeMarcus) Walker is really talented. I personally recruited him since he was in the 10th grade. I knew he was going to be a great player, and he ended up at Florida State, having a great year.
“That is the thing that stands out about their defense is the play of the defensive linemen. They held both Miami and Wake Forest to under 300 yards passing. It looks like they are getting some good continuity.”
Linebacker Dorian O’Daniel said a lot of aspects of the game did not go Clemson’s way against NC State, but one thing did.
“We iced the kicker and well that’s only something you really see work in video games,” O’Daniel said.
Shortly after the interview sessions, the entire team and coaching staff went to Greenville to help assist the construction of two houses in the Grace Point neighborhood.
“It’s a blessing to bring 120-plus healthy people and give good labor to make a difference in someone’s life,” Swinney said.
While there, quarterback Deshaun Watson was met by his mother and aunt as he was named to the 2016 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.
“I’m thankful for this opportunity to help a family out, just like myself and my family having an opportunity to move out of the government homes and into the Habitat House to be able to start a foundation for our family and to be able to achieve my dreams and goals in my life,” Watson said.