Much-needed breather

For the first time all season, there is no Clemson football to watch this Saturday. And it's been a longtime coming for the 8-1 [5-1 ACC] Tigers.

Andre Ellington will nurse the bum ankle that forced him to sit out down during Saturday's loss to Georgia Tech.

Dwayne Allen can rest the big toe in his left foot that's officially classified as turf toe.

The rest of the players and coaches will enjoy a few days off to recuperate, both physically and mentally.

"Our open date is much needed and coming at a very good time for us," said head coach Dabo Swinney, whose teams are 2-1 in games after an open date.

"We've got a lot of guys that we've got to get well. We talked about everybody this morning, from an injury standpoint. Based on what [director of sports medicine] Danny Poole is telling me, it looks like the next time we take the field we'll probably be as healthy as we were since before the season started.

"That's encouraging, but that's what we've got to do, get healthy and get re-charged, and get ready for November."

No. 11 Clemson returns to action on Nov. 12 with this season's home finale against Wake Forest [5-3, 4-2 ACC].

In 2009, the last time the Tigers played the Demon Deacons after an open date, Clemson rolled, 38-3. Clemson went on to win the school's first ACC Atlantic division title that season.

A win on Saturday would give the Tigers a second ACC Atlantic crown in three years.

First things first, a much needed respite.

"The last thing that we want to do is go out there and beat these guys up," Swinney said on Monday, when asked about this week's schedule.

"They've battled hard for us all year long. We're going to go out tonight and have a normal Monday-type practice. Tomorrow, we'll just have meetings. We've actually got a little community service planned for tomorrow. That's something we always do during our open date."

Practice this week will be used to focus on themselves.

"We'll practice pretty good on Wednesday and Thursday, but we're going to really get dialed in on what we do best, really look at our self, really get back to some fundamental-type stuff, and try to get them healthy and re-charged," Swinney said.

Players and coaches will be off the remainder of the weekend.

"Everybody needs that. We've been going at it strong here since the first of August. We're into November now. I think everybody kind of needs to re-charge," Swinney said. Top Stories