Clemson has been cranking up the noise in practice the last two days as it tries to prepare for the noise inside The Dome at Syracuse on Saturday.
The top-ranked Tigers will play the Orange at 7:30 p.m., in a game that will be televised by ABC. Syracuse announced at the beginning of the week that Saturday’s game will be the program’s first sellout in 21 years. The Dome, formerly known as The Carrier Dome, officially holds 49,250 fans.
Because the noise is trapped inside and has nowhere to go, it can be extremely loud, especially when their fans start believing they can win, which is what happened two years ago when an unranked Orange team upset then No. 2 Clemson. At the time, The Dome lived up to his nickname “The Loud House.”
To get his team prepared for what they will hear on Saturday, Swinney made conditions in practice this week unrealistically loud at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility, hoping if the offense can execute under those conditions then they will be fine come Saturday.
“Today was much better,” Swinney said after Wednesday’s practice. “(Tuesday) was the first day to kind of crank it up. We were just average. It was the first day. We were just kind of getting our plan going and this and that and working our cadence the way we wanted to work it.
“Today was much better. Again, we did a two-minute drill against our people and did a full-speed team pass on third down against our defense. It was good. They managed it well. They’re excited to go and compete.”
This is Clemson’s first road game of the 2019 season. Clemson has won 19 of its last 20 true road games, including its last seven.
“I love going on the road. At home it is easy because it is just like a natural energy from an inside and out standpoint, but on the road, you have to change that around. You draw from that energy,” Swinney said. “Don’t let it drain you. Let it increase your energy and tap into their energy of that crowd, even though it may be pulling against you. You don’t have to know that.”
Of course, the Tigers only road loss since the start of the 2015 season came at Syracuse two years ago. Clemson looked a little shell shocked at first as Syracuse matched them touchdown for touchdown in the first half. Then quarterback Kelly Bryant was knocked out of the game and the Tigers seemed to never regroup.
Before they knew it, the crowd was on top of them and they could not get out of the momentous hole they dug themselves into.
However, Swinney says they’re embracing the challenge this year. He knows Syracuse head coach Dino Babers will have his players ready to play and give it their all against Clemson despite falling by 43 points at Maryland a week ago.
“It is exciting about playing ball on the road. I love it. I have always loved that … Going on the road to play basketball and everybody is on top of you, it takes a certain mindset,” Swinney said as he referred back to his old high school basketball days as an example. “Again, it takes mental toughness and great coordination and communication. There is just something exciting about it.
“Everybody is against you, it is fun.”
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