Tigers wrap up week one

CLEMSON - Head coach Dabo Swinney talks about Saturday's Orange Bowl practice, Andre Ellington's future and more.


Opening statement…
Swinney: Good energy. I thought we made each other better today. A lot of good tempo out there, guys having some fun. It's great when you've got beautiful weather like this to go to work in. I think we've got a good plan in place, as far as how we're practicing and all that kind of stuff. Finals are over now and we've got 100 percent focus on football. We're not competing for their minds. That's a good thing. We'll continue to do some work with a lot of our young guys post practice. That's been really good. It's been fun to see all those guys getting some valuable work. Hopefully, they'll gain some confidence from this as they go into the offseason and get ready for spring practice. Good day for us.

Sammy told us he wouldn't mind kicking off a Sammy Watkins for Heisman campaign for next year…
Swinney: That's the least of my concerns. I think he's got control of that campaign. It's how he goes and plays. Hopefully, he'll have the same type of impact next year. If he does, he'll be up for whatever awards they give, if he continues to play like he's played, stays focused.

How much could a BCS win do for this team going forward into next spring and next season?
Swinney: It's huge. It's like our first-year, when we got to the Championship game. That was a big accomplishment for us. Had we won it, it would have given you even more momentum, just like we experienced a couple of weeks ago. It's great to get there. That's obviously a goal. We've never been to a BCS game since they started that deal. That's a great accomplishment. They should want to win. Whether it's the BCS or whatever the lowest bowl is, you want to win. Winning breeds confidence and enthusiasm. It's your last game, so you're not going to get to go play again next week. You've got to live with whatever happens. It's been a good season. We've had a good year. We've accomplished a lot of things. We need to try to finish this thing the right way. Momentum is a great thing. Hopefully, we can play well and find a way to win.

Have you talked with Andre Ellington about his future?
Swinney: Oh yeah. In my opinion, he needs to be back here. I think he will be. He really need another year, to finish school and get that behind him. He needs a full offseason. He missed the whole offseason and really didn't get back until summertime. He missed half the year last year. He really needs the benefit of a year's worth of training and come back and have a great year. He rushed for 1,000 yards this year and he was a part-timer. I really think he could be a 1,500, 1,600 type of guy in this offense. He needs to put some games together and stay healthy. Hopefully, he'll be back. That's a decision he's going to have to make -- sometimes guys have to make on their own. He doesn't need to be worrying about that. His focus needs to be on beating West Virginia. There's plenty of time to figure that out later.

Have you gotten final grade reports back?
Swinney: No. I won't know any of that until Wednesday, the 21st. We get all that stuff finalized, have to have all that turned in and documented before we leave on the 22nd and give them that last per diem pay-out. We expect everybody to be in pretty good shape, but you never know until you get the final word.

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