NEW ORLEANS — Because of the inclement weather that hit the New Orleans area on Saturday, Clemson was forced indoors instead of practicing at the University of Tulane’s practice fields. And when they say indoors, they mean indoors.
Clemson ended up practicing in a large ballroom at the Hilton in downtown New Orleans, which caused a narrative Clemson was getting a raw deal in regard to its preparations for Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship against LSU. The Bayou Bengals practiced at the Saints’ indoor practice facility, where they have practiced all week.
However, Swinney indicated during the CFP’s Coaches Press Conference on Sunday that it was his idea to practice at the Hilton and it was not anyone trying to give LSU an advantage.
“We might have had the best practice we had all year,” he said. “We had the same opportunity to go to the palatial Saints facility. It’s just crazy how people put these narratives out there right away. We had the same exact opportunity to go there, but we were going to have to change our schedule and just didn’t want to do that, and obviously the weather was nasty, so it was great.
“I mean, it’s massive, and this was — it was a Thursday practice for us, and our Thursday practices are kind of jog-through anyway, and this was practice nine, day 10 in a row that we’ve been together, so it was even lighter than that, it was a lot of fun, it was great energy.”
Swinney said Clemson will be ready to play on Monday.
“You can only practice so much,” he said. “It was a great practice. It was a great day. Thankful that we had a really good facility, and again, we could have done the exact same thing. I just chose not to change our schedule up and stay on course, and it’s great.”
The ‘Roaring 20’s’: Swinney was asked if there was one word that could describe Clemson’s decade of dominance in the ACC and in college football. Clemson has won two of the last three national championships and Monday will be the program’s fourth trip to the championship game in the last five years.
The Tigers have also been to the CFP five straight years, have won six ACC Championships and recorded nine straight 10-plus win seasons.
“Transformative. Is that a word,” Swinney asked back. “We’ve transformed Clemson, and the next decade is the Roaring ’20s, so I’m excited about it — I heard those were great. Hopefully, we can relive those.”
Pinckney questionable: Clemson defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney is questionable for Monday’s game. The defensive tackle did not practice on Saturday.
“Yeah, Nyles, we’re hopeful, but if he plays, he’ll be limited. He’s still battling an ankle,” Swinney said.
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said offensive guard Damien Lewis is ready to play. Lewis was injured early in the Peach Bowl win over Oklahoma.
Going 30-for-30: Swinney was asked about the possibility of winning 30 straight games, and how it has happened six times since the 1950s and being the first program since Nebraska in 1994 and 1995 to win back-to-back national championships with undefeated seasons.
“Well, I mean, this is 2020. I don’t have to give them anything. They just get woken up in the middle of the night with breaking alerts. I mean, the information is overloaded into their world today. So, I don’t have to give them anything. They see it. They hear it. It’s a constant — they know.
“Certainly, we reinforce from time to time what their opportunity is, but it’s not like we’re giving them anything they don’t know. They know. They’re very well aware of what they’ve been able to achieve. And listen, regardless of what happens in the game tomorrow night, it’s really been a historic run. To win two out of the last three National Championships is amazing. I’m just super proud of all of our teams that have worked so hard to just be the best they can be, and that’s really our goal. That’s it. Sometimes you get beat, and our goal is to be the best we can be every single year.
“Winning a National Championship is a byproduct of that commitment. So just thankful for all of our teams, and they’re well aware of all the opportunity and all that stuff, but that’s really not the focus. I think when you focus on that, you’re focusing on the magnitude of the moment and you lose the joy of the moment. That’s all we try to focus on is just being great where our feet are and just have some fun doing what we do to get ready.”
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