Get ready for some Jesse Palmer, Rece Davis, and David Pollack tonight. (I can't tell you how much I hate hearing Palmer repeat over and over, 'Guys, guys....') I love and hate Thursday night games.(Apologies for the late posting--FigureFour has the real game preview, but I thought I would post up some Swinney quotes and thoughts before kick-off)
Love the exposure but really hate the 1-9 record. Barker and TDP don't ever want home Thurs. night games but the home team has an insane advantage in the modern era of college football. In Thursday night games during a 5-year span from 2006-2011 the home team killed going 49-29, winning 62% of the time. That shouldn't make any road team happy to play on a Thursday night. I wasn't sweating this one until I heard Campanaro would be back. He and Whitlock are the kind of heart and soul, tough players you don't want to underestimate. Throw in an abdominal strain to Breeland and our weak secondary and this looks more like a trap game. Cortez Davis will be the third option behind Brewer and Peters and then they will go to Blanks or even Adam Humphries who played CB at Dorman.
This week's press conference with Swinney was really someone asking him about traveling to Wake and Swinney giving you a preview of the book he will someday write about getting the job at Clemson. The man can flat out talk and went on about 10-15 minutes telling the story of losing on a Thurs. to Wake, coming back to Clemson where Bowden would be fired and then having TDP give him the job right after Bowden walked out of the office. Interesting stuff, but nothing related to the game in a a couple of hours.
What did relate to the game in a couple hours? Dabo gave a great answer to a question about Boyd in the game. He called out the conspiracy theories that Boyd is injured and said he just had mechanical problems and rusty day coming off of the bye week. He also called out Ed Cunningham for ripping the coaching staff for running Tajh so much at the end of the game. Not sure where I come down on that because I don't trust the medical staff (and the coaches are so secretive about injuries at Clemson, even more so than some other teams, that it creates a fan base of skeptics looking for a conspiracy) and you don't want to lose your starter from running like 5 times at the end of the game when you have AE. Dabo said this:
Is there anything about Tajh's performance that is linked to physical issues? Or is it mental?
Swinney. No, I think his head was perfect. He had a good week of practice. He was excited to play. Sometimes you just screw up. Sometimes you just make a bad play. It's more just mechanical. Sometimes you just can't explain everything. When you play at such a high level and then you show some human tendencies, then it's what's wrong or oh he's hurt. There ain't nothing wrong with him. How about the plays he made? He made some good throws, too. He's not perfect. There's no conspiracy. He just had a bad game. There's really no other way to explain it. He didn't execute fundamentals properly on a few throws. It's all about leading your team to victory and he did that in a gutsy way.
There was a rumor that Tajh hurt his shoulder against FSU (completely unsubstantiated) so when he landed hard on that shoulder and came up kinda wincing, I think a lot of people assumed the worst. Supposedly it is just muscular soreness and nothing internal/structural. He didn't throw on Sunday but that was because of soreness and has thrown every day since. My concern is that this time last year I feel like Boyd hit a mental wall and then his mechanics slipped. When he wasn't having success he let that get in his head and he started forcing things. Hopefully he can show his maturity on the road.
Last quick quote before I start my pre-game rituals (I would love to know what other people do!). I will be wearing my #93 in honor of the late, great Gaines Adams who I fondly remember single-handedly beating Wake. This one is Dabo asked about playing night games on the road.
Why does TV always make you go on the road to play a night game?
Swinney. I have no idea. We've had 17 road night games the last five years. Everybody's scared of the Valley at night, I guess. We don't control that. We really don't. We just play them when they say play them. We didn't get home from Boston College until 3:30 a.m. I'm not a young man anymore.
Hopefully we can get some night games in the Valley after we beat Wake and Duke (and hopefully those computer numbers improve). Random rumor mill: Sammy missed a meeting so he will not start but should play most of the game. Tony Steward is going to get some playing time tonight. Some say it is a reward for good special teams play, others think he is starting. Got to love the pre-game rumors...