Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney spoke with reporters Monday morning to provide updates on his football team and look ahead to this week’s Sugar Bowl game against the Ohio State Buckeyes. The highlights of everything he had to say can be found below.
— “It’s getting close.” This is a Wednesday for them in terms of preparation routine. Excited to be back in the playoffs.
— “Congratulations to Ohio State. It will be a great game. No doubt about that.” Two very talented teams that will do everything they can to win.
— “There’s no question Ohio State is good enough to beat us and beat anybody. They’re good enough to be the national champion. That’s not the question at all.”
— “I have all the respect in the world for Ohio State.” He talks to Ryan Day. There are similarities between the two programs.
— “I just don’t think it’s right — it’s not that they’re not good enough… If people have a problem with that, I don’t care.”
— There’s no gamesmanship with his coaches ballot. He just didn’t put anybody in the top 10 who didn’t play at least nine games. It’s not right that a bunch of teams got punished for playing more games.
— He knew the vote would be public “but to me, right is right. It’s not always easy to do the right thing. I could probably run for governor in Michigan and have a good chance.” “I’m not gonna live my life that way.” Ohio State “could beat us by two touchdowns, they’re plenty good enough to beat us.”
— He wasn’t going to change his vote for political correctness.
— DE Xavier Thomas was unavailable and in a protocol situation. They’re not going to say anything about anybody until game day “just like we’ve done all year.”
— Why are there so many blowouts in the playoffs? “I don’t know. It’s a big stage. Momentum is a huge, huge thing. Sometimes games can get away.” The better teams have won the games.
— Justin Fields is very confident. He’s a great football player. He’s gonna be a top 3 pick. He can do it all. It’s another year in the system. He’s just a dangerous guy. He’s confident in his throws and he’s confident in his receivers. Their top three WRs are as good as there are in the country.
— “There’s not a moment that is too big for Trevor Lawrence.”
— The Heisman is a media-driven award. Lawrence is the epitome of the Heisman. He played nine of Clemson’s 11 games. He’s 34-1 as a starter.
— Nobody in the playoffs has had to deal with anything like this season. It’s been different for everybody. “Our best football is ahead of us.”
— Very similar defense from Ohio State this year “and why would it not be?” They’re really good. A little bit more two safety. “But they believe in what they do, man. They’re built to stop the run. More similar than not. They lose good players every year, just like we do, but they replace them with good players every year, just like we do.”
— The Clemson offense didn’t do well against Ohio State last year. The best thing they did was protect the football.
— The Ohio State defense is built to stop the run.
— What has he asked his players to sacrifice this year? “It’s unprecedented. It’s been incredibly challenging. It’s been an incredibly tough year on these kids.” There will be books and documentaries about this. That’s another reason why he did the poll the way he did. “I’m just really proud of them.” They get tested four times a week.