Swinney: ‘Our best football is in front of us’

Swinney: ‘Our best football is in front of us’

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Swinney: ‘Our best football is in front of us’

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The open date came at a good time for second-ranked Clemson on Saturday.

The Tigers, who will take on Florida State next Saturday, 3:30 p.m., at Memorial Stadium, are undefeated through the first five weeks of the season, but they were also a little banged up.

“It is a chance for us to rest a little bit, get healthy, get a head start on Florida State, self-scout on ourselves and then go apply it and get ready for the second half,” head coach Dabo Swinney said. “Every day is critical at this point.”

Clemson practiced Monday-Thursday this past week and then Swinney gave the players Friday-Saturday off so they could go see their families or just enjoy watching college football. The coaching staff will get back to work today as they continue breaking down an FSU team that has improved since the beginning of the season.

The Seminoles (3-2, 2-1 ACC) also had Saturday off.

But last week was about resting some guys, like safety Tanner Muse, who is recovering from a hamstring injury. The senior did not practice last week for the Tigers, and Swinney expects him to be able to practice on Monday.

As for the rest of the team, last week was about getting better.

“We made a lot of mistakes that could have cost us the game (at North Carolina),” Swinney said. “The good news is we made a lot of mistakes that could have cost us the game and we still won on the road. That is a great quality for a team to have so I am super proud of that.

“We are 5-0 and our best football is in front of us. This will be a game that will help us grow.”

Swinney said the Tigers’ near loss to UNC was probably one of the best things that could have happened to this year’s team. Clemson (5-0, 3-0 ACC) won its first four games by an average of 32.3 points per game and had won 14 straight games, dating back to the 2018 season by at least 14 points.

But against the Tar Heels it found itself needing a stop on a 2-point conversion to hold on for a 21-20 victory.

“It was great because, again, we did a lot of good things, but we have a lot we have to improve,” the Clemson coach said. “We have had four pretty good games and then all of a sudden you hit a little bit of adversity and we have to really learn from it. We are fortunate to win the game and thankful that we won the game. It is so much more fun to correct with a win than to lose the game. But the guys are great. We have a lot of self-awareness on this team. I think that is important.

“The same thing with us coaches. We are not perfect coaches and we don’t have perfect players. I think self-awareness, accountability and ownership are very important. We have always had that in our program.”

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