Tigers voluntarily came in and worked out on their days off this past week
With the coaches out on the road recruiting and with no practice for five days, Dabo Swinney required his players to at least try to get in the weight room a couple of times during their time off so they could be ready to go when they began practice on Friday.
Well, the players did not listen to their head coach. Instead, the Clemson Tigers came in everyday and worked out.
“We wanted them to get like two thirty-minute sessions in at anytime during the week, but man they were in here a bunch,” Swinney said after Friday’s practice. “(Coach Joey Batson) was very encouraged… He said it was almost like an off season the way they came in this week.
“There was a lot of energy and a lot of focus.”
That’s how the Clemson head coach described Friday’s practice, too, as the third-ranked Tigers began prep for No. 2 Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl as part of the College Football Playoff Semifinals.
“I think we are off to a good start,” Swinney said. “Today was just about getting back out on the field and knocking the rust off a little bit. It does not take long to get a little rusty. Four days of not running around and running your offense or your defense, so getting them back in there and getting some of the installation going and get started.”
During the past four seasons of the College Football Playoff, Clemson has had three weeks to get ready for the playoff game. However, this year, due to an extended calendar in the regular season, the Tigers have just two weeks to prepare for the Buckeyes.
“It is a whole different calendar and it is a very compressed time, but it is the same for everybody,” Swinney said. “Everybody has the exact same calendar. So, we have a good plan and as always, for us, we believe in how we get ready.
“It is kind of back to the basics. It is fundamentals and techniques of what you do. It’s working on Clemson and then it is installation and working on Ohio State and then it is player development. We do take time to work on what we call our JV this time of the year. Just give them some attention. Give them some coaching. Give them some work where everybody is kind of out of the way and take advantage of the practices that they do get to just coach those guys.”
Clemson will practice through next Wednesday before the team gets a couple of days off so they can go home and be with their families. The Tigers will get back together on Dec. 22 for an easy practice, workout and meetings and then they will hop on a plane and head to Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl so they can get a full week of prep out there as well.
“We are excited about it. It is going to be fun,” Swinney said.
The Fiesta Bowl kicks off two weeks from today (Dec. 28) at 8 p.m. (ET).
Clemson is back in the College Football Playoffs once again. Get the latest official Clemson CFP gear right here!