Clemson’s coaches and players don’t want to talk about it, but they are very close to earning a trip to Tampa to play for the ACC title.Â All they need to do is to beat the Wolfpack this weekend, and if Boston College loses to Virginia, the Tigers can pack their bags for the warm climes of Florida’s Gulf Coast in late autumn.
Wide receiver Jacoby Ford says the word Tampa hasn’t been said in the locker room this week.
Linebacker Brandon Maye says his teammates know what’s at stake and that’s why they have to take the Wolfpack’s potent offense seriously.
In other words, no one is openly talking about winning the ACC Atlantic Division, but to a man, probably every coach and player is thinking about it.Â Â Coach Dabo Swinney told Tigernet.com that
â€œThat’s fine, but it’s like I told our team last night – we made this a two-horse race now coming down the backstretch, â€œ Swinney said. â€œYou have to finish the line. I’ll be more interested in the rankings when it’s all said and done. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. Hopefully we can finish off the season like we want.””
That starts with a win in Carter-Finley, against a team that has had its share of struggles against ACC opponents this year.Â Add to that the fact that Clemson has owned NC State lately.
Fortunately, the Wolfpack offense is firing on all cylinders at the moment, but this weekend, they will be strongly challenged to move the ball as easily as they have been lately. Wolfpack head coach Tom O’Brien said in his Monday presser that
“[Clemson]is probably the best defensive football team we’ve seen this year. They have great size in the middle. There are nine guys back that have started. Their secondary, I heard on TV, they have 34 interceptions among them. They are playing a graduate with a senior at the corners. They are lock down kind of corners They are playing great in the pass defense. That allows those guys up front to get after the quarterback. We just faced one challenge of [blitzing packages], and now we have got to hold off two great rush ends that these guys have.”
As for the State defense, O’Brien said that last week against Maryland, the Pack’s stopping unit turned in a performance that was
“certainly the best we’ve played since Pittsburgh. To come right down to it, they gave up basically three points from two minutes to go in the second quarter-on.”Â Later, he added a hopeful note, saying that “ if we can just continue to improve a little bit, hopefully we can get better each and every week.”