Back in the summer, when he was planning his schedule for the 2019 football season, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was not a fan of the fact the College Football Playoff National Championship Game was going to be played 16 days after the semifinals.
At the time, Swinney, planning as if his Tigers were going to be in the title game, would have rather played a week from now. However, after playing a game like Saturday’s Fiesta Bowl win over Ohio State and then having a three-hour delay trying to fly out of Phoenix on Sunday, Swinney is thankful the Tigers have an extra week to get ready for LSU in the national championship game.
“Hopefully it’ll benefit us, but I’m thankful that we’ve got a couple days to just recover, rest and recover and that we’re not having to leave on Friday,” he said during the CFP National Championship Teleconference on Monday.
Swinney reported the Tigers (14-0) are really beat up following their 29-23 come-from-behind win against the Buckeyes. Clemson trailed 16-0 through the first 27 minutes of the game before rallying. The dramatic victory took its toll on the Tigers both mentally and physically.
“Oh, there ain’t nobody okay. Are you kidding me? We just came out of a 15-round bout. Coaches are sore. We’re all sore. Everybody is beat up. That was an unbelievable game,” he said. “But again, our guys finished. Everybody who got hurt came back. It was just unbelievable to watch.
“Everybody will be ready to go on the 13th, that’s for sure, but today everybody – I hope everybody is still asleep. Like I said, long flight, getting back, and players are off today and tomorrow just to recover, and we’ll get back with them on Wednesday.”
That’s when the Tigers will start getting ready to play Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers.
LSU (14-0) has crushed everyone it has played for the most part this season, including No. 4 Oklahoma, 63-28, in the Peach Bowl this past Saturday.
So, Swinney is glad Clemson does not have to play the SEC’s Tigers until Jan. 13.
“This particular year it worked out good,” he said. “If you asked me before and even now, I’d prefer to go play. I think playing on Saturday and then playing the following Monday, I like that. But in this particular case, it’s a blessing for us because we can kind of give our guys a couple days to just rest and recover, and also the coaches. I mean, it’s been a grind, so everybody has kind of got a day today to decompress and unpack.
“We didn’t get in until late last night, a long trip, we got delayed about three hours or so. So just a day for everybody to recover and then the coaches tomorrow will get back in there and get rolling and get the team back in there on Wednesday. So, we’re excited about these next couple weeks. It’s going to be a lot of fun getting ready for this game and just being in it and knowing that we’re at this point and we’ve got a chance to go compete for it and we’ve earned it. We’re going to give it our best shot.”
Clemson is going back to the national championship game after once again winning the Fiesta Bowl over Ohio State. Get your official Fiesta Bowl champs gear right here!