With compressed schedule Swinney balancing things to keep Tigers' edge

With compressed schedule Swinney balancing things to keep Tigers' edge


With compressed schedule Swinney balancing things to keep Tigers' edge


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — When Dabo Swinney’s director or personnel and player relations, Mike Dooley, pointed out there will be less time to prepare for a bowl game than Clemson normally has, Swinney did not believe him.

Every May, Swinney sits down and does a 13-month calendar … July through the next August. He admits he always plans to win the national championship and if the Tigers do not get there then he will adjust.

“I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, this can’t be right.’ I was into December and this was last May,” Swinney said when Dooley pointed out they were losing a week of preparation for the postseason. “I was going, ‘This isn’t right,’ but he was right.

“I argued with him a little while. He was right. I was wrong. We really lost a week this year. It was a strange deal because the championship games were a week later. So, it’s very compressed.”

The championship games are the conference title games. Third-ranked Clemson beat No. 24 Virginia, 62-17, in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 7, two weeks later the Tigers are already in the Phoenix, Arizona area preparing to play No. 2 Ohio State in the College Football Playoff Semifinals at the Fiesta Bowl.

“In past years, we have been able to play the championship game, and basically give our players off a week and a half,” Swinney said. “And then we would start bowl prep and have another week and a half in town before we would break for Christmas.”

With the compressed schedule, Swinney actually sat down and discussed the situation with his seniors

“You do have to give them some time off,” he said. “It’s a long season when you play 13 games and two open dates. So, there’s a lot of practice. These guys have been going since July 31st.

“So, having that balance of giving them a little bit of a break and also getting them physically prepared for what they’re going to see. Because in the game of football, it doesn’t take long to kind of lose your edge, if you will.”

Clemson can’t afford to lose its edge against a Buckeyes team that is the best they have seen to this point in the season. Ohio State is balanced both offensively and defensively and has playmakers all over the field. It is also a very physical football team.

“So, I think we had a good balance of mental prep, conditioning, working on Clemson, fundamentals technique, and then game plan for Ohio State and a little bit of good-on-good,” Swinney said. “Just enough full pads work, I think, to keep us sharp.

“But then we gave them three days off. So, we went through Wednesday. Gave them Thursday, Friday, Saturday off. And then we came back (to Clemson Sunday) morning, had meetings, kind of had a jog-through-type practice, and here we are. We will have a normal week and I’m excited about it.”

Clemson is back in the College Football Playoffs once again. Get the latest official Clemson CFP gear right here!



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