Eyes on Atlanta, not New Orleans

Dabo Swinney nipped it right in the bud on Sunday night.

Just over 24 hours after Clemson improved to 8-0, the Tigers' third-year head coach matter-of-factly closed the opening statement in weekly teleconference.

"I hope nobody is going to ask me about the polls and all that stuff. As I've said, to save you, the answer to the question: that's a waste of our time," he said. "I don't sit around and worry about that stuff. None of that matters if we don't handle our business.

"We've got to take care of Clemson, the task at hand this week, and that's getting ready for Georgia Tech. That is all our focus is upon. Just trying to find a way to get to 9-0."

But it's not as if Swinney wasn't paying attention to what happened between Michigan State and Wisconsin and then Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

"I did get to watch a couple of ball games last night," he said, when asked about whether he kept an eye on the previously unbeaten Badgers and Sooners.

"Like I said, I don't allow myself to even waste any brain power worrying about all that kind of stuff. There's just a bunch of football left to be played. It's really irrelevant. Three or four weeks from now, if we take care of business, I can start looking at those things."

First things first -- beat Georgia Tech on Saturday.

"We've got one thought, and that's Georgia Tech, trying to win this week," Swinney said.

Martavis Bryant has six catches for 199 yards and two touchdowns this season.
ANOTHER FRESHMAN WR: Sammy Watkins continues to receive plenty of recognition, and right fully so. But there's another freshman wide receiver who continues to show flashes of excellence.

Martavis Bryant caught two passes for 54 yards and a touchdown in the Saturday afternoon shellacking of North Carolina. It was the first-time the T.L. Hanna product had multiple catches in one game this season.

"We knew that Martavis was going to be a guy who got better as the season went. Physically, he was ready to go at the beginning of the year," Swinney said. "He had a lot to learn still, about the position, about the system, all those type of things -- really like a typical freshman."

Bryant's growth improves with each week.

"As he has gotten more reps at practice and we've honed in on the game plan, from a week to week standpoint, he has really, really improved," Swinney said. "He is a very talented player. He's as talented as anybody we have."

The path of development, according to Swinney, is similar to that of DeAndre Hopkins, who led the Tigers in receiving as a freshman.

"[Bryant] is a little bit like Nuke last year, from a mental standpoint, but his learning curve is shortening up quickly," Swinney said.

To read more from Sunday night's teleconference with Swinney, visit the CUTigers.com premium message board The Valley:


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