Swinney confident, loose heading into tonight’s Sugar Bowl

Swinney confident, loose heading into tonight’s Sugar Bowl

Football

Swinney confident, loose heading into tonight’s Sugar Bowl

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Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was extremely loose and carefree when he was being interviewed on the College GameDay set Saturday morning on ESPN from the Superdome in New Orleans.

Whether that has anything to do with how second-ranked Clemson will play tonight against No. 3 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, we will find out at 8 p.m.

But on Saturday morning Swinney was smiling when asked about quarterbacks’ coach and passing game coordinator Brandon Streeter taking over play-calling duties with offensive coordinator Tony Elliott out of the game after testing positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. He also was joking about eating Beignets and a few other things during the segment.

Swinney even joked about opting out of the season had he known he would be without veteran receivers Justyn Ross, Joseph Ngata and Frank Ladson for most of the year.

“If you would have told me on March 12 that we were going to go into the season and not have Ladson, not have Ngata and not have Justyn Ross … I might have opted. I might have opted out,” Swinney said laughing to the GameDay crew.

The Clemson coach continued by praising the effort of veteran receivers Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell this season, as they stepped up as leaders in the wide receivers’ room and on the team. Rodgers leads the ACC in receptions (69-966 yds, 7 TDs) and earned First-Team All-ACC honors, while Powell was a third-team All-Conference selection after he grabbed 45 passes for 743 yards and five touchdowns.

Swinney was especially proud of Powell, who could have easily opted out this year or transferred to somewhere else.

“Here is a kid that could have left, but he stayed,” Swinney said. “It is not like he has been competing with a bunch of scrubs. I mean … Hunter Renfrow, Tee Higgins, you know, dudes. Mike Williams. He has been here with all of those guys.

“But he had been grinding and working on his craft and trying to become a craftsman and being coachable. He has been the difference in our team.”

Swinney and the Tigers will try to keep things loose in the Superdome tonight. The College Football Playoff Semifinal matchup kicks off at 8 p.m. on ESPN.Clem

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