Clemson has used the open week as an opportunity to take care of themselves as the seventh-ranked Tigers get set for the stretch run this football season.
Currently Clemson stands at 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the ACC following last week’s stunning loss at Syracuse. The Tigers have the extra week to get ready for Georgia Tech and its triple-option offense, but that’s not what the bye week is all about this year.
“It is just good for us because we need to take care of Clemson,” head coach Dabo Swinney said. “I always say we play Clemson every week. We need to take care of the things we can control.”
That’s something the Tigers did not do very well against Syracuse. Clemson was penalized 11 times for 119 yards, the most penalties and yards it has had in a game in more than a decade.
“We need to lineup not in the neutral zone on third-and-seven,” Swinney said. “We need to get our snap count correct so our players are not at a disadvantage. There are a lot of things we need to take advantage of at this time. Some blitz pickup work. There is just a lot of stuff.
“It is always good regardless of whom you got (to have a bye week).”
Of course the Tigers have a Georgia Tech team that Swinney says is playing good football right now. The Yellow Jackets (3-2, 2-1 ACC) are perhaps two plays from being undefeated.
Tennessee stopped them on a two-point conversion in overtime that could have won the game for Tech, while last week, Miami got a miracle catch on the game’s final drive to set up a game-winning field goal in the final seconds.
“I watched the Tennessee game, I can’t believe they lost that game,” Swinney said. “But when you turn it over and give people short fields in an opener, you get beat. They had like 600 and something yards. It was unbelievable.
“Then the game last week, fourth-and-10 in the rain and the ball gets tipped, the guy is falling and the ball falls on his chest. They are literally two plays from being undefeated. So this is really a good football team and obviously, we will get a chance to watch them this week against Wake. We look forward to seeing that.”
Because of Georgia Tech’s triple option attack, having an extra week of preparation can be a good thing. However at Clemson, Swinney says that really is not an issue anymore because they don’t get freaked out by the triple option like some of its other Atlantic Division brethren do.
“We play them every year. I think that is a little different maybe for us then it is some other teams,” Swinney said. “It does not freak us out anymore. They may kick our butt but it is not because we are freaked out by the option.”
Swinney has a point. The last two years, Tech’s option-game has done very little to the Tigers. Clemson held the Ramblin Wreck to 71 rushing yards in 2015 and last year they managed just 95 yards on the ground against the Clemson defense.
“We work it all year,” Swinney said. “We practice in the spring. We work it in fall camp because they are a crossover rival every single year. We always have a little bit of a working knowledge.”