COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Clemson players loved hearing their coach defend the program and believe that support will help them through potential pitfalls this season.
Tigers receiver Artavis Scott said knowing their coach has their back – which coach Dabo Swinney loudly proved in a postgame answer about ”Clemsoning” – keeps the fifth-ranked Tigers (5-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) team excited and working hard against all opponents, starting Saturday night against Boston College (3-3, 0-3).
”It just gets me hype the way he’s just with us and has our back through everything,” Scott said.
The normally affable Swinney took off on a reporter after Clemson’s 43-24 victory over Georgia Tech last week who asked if the term ”Clemsoning” – which the Urban Dictionary online defines as ”the act of delivering an inexplicably disappointing performance, usually within the context of a college football season” – was no longer valid because of the Tigers ability to beat teams they should.
Swinney let loose with an angry diatribe defending the Tigers and decrying those on TV and in the media who persist in wielding the term around like a character flaw.
”Ain’t nobody given us anything, not one ounce of anything,” Swinney said. ”They’ve earned everything they’ve got.”
Tight end Jordan Leggett said he heard it in his car and began smiling.
”I thought it was pretty awesome,” Leggett said. ”It was pretty sweet. I feel that word just triggered something in his head.”
The Tigers look to win their 34th straight game against an unranked opponent when they play the Eagles.
The players, Scott continued, enjoy the hands on approach Swinney takes with the team – from yelling about mistakes at practice to showing off postgame dance moves in the locker room with the Tigers.
”It’s just special,” Scott said. ”I don’t think a team has it like us.”
Boston College enters with the country’s No. 1 defense, yet has struggled to score points. The Eagles have scored just 24 points in their past four games.
Eagles coach Steve Addazio said his team has had chances to score, but has not.
”The fact of the matter is we’re not scoring touchdowns. But, the film doesn’t lie either,” he said. ”Now, how do we get those to happen?”
That should be tough against Clemson’s defense, which is 13th nationally and held Georgia Tech to its lowest rushing (71 yards) total in eight seasons last week.
The Tigers are trying to go 6-0 for the third time in five seasons against the Eagles. The previous two times Clemson stumbled on its way to bigger things.
In 2011, then No. 6 Clemson took an 8-0 mark into unranked Georgia Tech and lost 31-17. The Tigers also fell to unranked North Carolina State two week later and, after winning the ACC title, were blown out in the Orange Bowl 70-33 by West Virginia – and perhaps spreading the ”Clemsoning” term nationwide.
Clemson was 6-0 and ranked No. 3 when it hosted fifth-ranked Florida State. The result was a 51-14 drubbing by the Seminoles, who scored the most points of any opponent at Memorial Stadium.
Despite the Tigers rallying to win four of their last five games, including an Orange Bowl win over Ohio State, many could focus only on the nationally televised midseason Death Valley debacle.
Clemson tailback Zac Brooks said it’s hard to keep your words in check as a player when you think something’s unfair.
Swinney’s fiery statements answered back loud and clear, Brooks said.
”By us not having a voice, our voice is our performance on the field and coach Swinney,” he said. ”It’s great to have somebody speak up for you.”