Heads or tails?

CLEMSON - At the beginning of each game, Dabo Swinney wants to force the issue. With one of the nation's premier offenses, who could blame him?

"At the beginning of the game we feel like want to take the ball," Swinney said. "I feel like we've got a great quarterback that I trust. I think we have good return people."

That's why Swinney instructs his captains to receive if they win the coin toss.

"My mentality is that's one more possession for the offense," he said. "We're either going to score or we're going to create great field position and punt them deep, and hopefully have a little better field position than we would have had if we had kicked off. That's kind of our mentality. "So far, it's paid off big for us."

Since Swinney took over as Clemson's full-time head coach in 2009, his teams have won 21 of 47 coin tosses. The Tigers have elected to receive 16 of the 21 times they've won the toss.

After winning the toss and electing to receive, Clemson is 9-7. After winning the coin toss and electing to defer, the Tigers are 3-2.

Clemson won the toss six times during Swinney's first full season as head coach and seven times in year two. The Tigers went 5-1 in 2009 and 2-5 in 2010 after winning the toss.

Swinney instructed his captains to elect to receive all 13 times during those first two seasons.

It wasn't until 2011 when Clemson elected to defer. In the five games the Tigers won the coin toss last season, they elected to defer each time and went 3-2.

Of the three games the Tigers have won the toss, they're 2-1 [Auburn, Florida State and Georgia Tech]. Clemson has elected to receive each time.

"We've had a lot of opening drive scores. All of a sudden now, you're on top. That's just me," Swinney said. "We talked about it as a staff. That's kind of been the consensus for all of us. Let's take the ball -- let's don't even give them an opportunity to pin us deep. Let's don't give them an opportunity to get off to a good start.

"I've also been on the flip side. Our defense is really good and maybe we're not quite as confident, or have as much swag, offensively, probably going to defer. We'll let them take the ball, and let's play good D, try to create some field position that way."

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