The unequivocal head coach

CLEMSON - Dabo Swinney will never be considered a glass half-empty kind of guy, especially when it comes to his football team.



Despite what most pundits have said -- or will say before kickoff off -- Swinney thinks Clemson will defy the odds and beat Florida State.

"I always think we're going to win, always, always," he said. "I never prepare to lose, never have. I always prepare to win and think we're going to win, but you've got to go compete and get it done.

"If you don't, you learn and grow, keep rolling."

Swinney announced on Wednesday that Gifford Timothy is scheduled to help keep things rolling in the right direction. Timothy will start at right tackle on Saturday. He'll be charged with the tall task of trying to keep Florida State's pass rush extraordinaire Bjoern Werner out of Tajh Boyd's face.

"Watching us last year, Landon [Walker] did a decent job with [Werner], but [Walker] is a very experienced, knowledgeable player and he kept himself in position," Swinney said. "That's the first thing you've got to do. If you hesitate, if you're late off the ball, if you don't kick properly, you're in trouble with a guy like that. That's where it starts, just really being sound, technically, and staying in position to execute properly.

"And we've got to do things to keep him out of rhythm. If it's a game where they can just pin their ears back and go get the quarterback, it's probably not been a good day.

"But if we can keep them off balance and stay on schedule, make some first downs then we're not one dimensional. That's real key -- if we're one dimensional, then we'll have a hard time."

Much of that rests on Boyd's shoulders. When things do break down in the backfield, Boyd must be willing and able to extend plays with his feet.

That's what kept Clemson's offense on track against Auburn -- it could have been the deciding factor in the season opener.

"There's going to be some look outs somewhere in the [Florida State] game," Swinney said. "Great players, it doesn't matter at what level, you watch Peyton Manning, [and] there were some look outs in that game. Great quarterbacks get rid of the ball, they anticipate, they step up and they make plays."

He added, "You make something good out of something that ain't good [when] a play breaks down. And [Boyd has] done that this year. But we're definitely going to have to have him be active with his feet, feel the rush lanes, step up in the pocket, just keep positive yards on our side.

"That's going to be critical. He's got to be a factor when we ask him to run the ball. In the run game, he's got to be a factor, be productive."

This weekend's test will be unlike any other Clemson's faced in 2012.

"We have not been challenged like these guys are going to challenge us. We're all going to find out a little bit more about our team on Saturday," Swinney said.

For the first time this season, the Tigers will play in a road environment and they're expecting a hostile crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium.

During practice this week, the Florida State warchant has been playing on repeat.

"I don't want to hear anybody come over to the sideline saying they can't here. There's no excuses," Swinney said. "Ain't no way that it's going to be louder than what we've done in practice. We've purposely done it this way, so hopefully it'll be a little easier on them."

CUTigers.com Top Stories