Dabo in the Dome

ATLANTA - Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney meets with the media inside the Georgia Dome after Thursday morning's practice.

Swinney: Today was a Tuesday-type practice for us, from a mentality standpoint. It was good. It was a good practice. Everybody, I think, came with the right frame of mind, good energy. That's just another step toward trying to get ready playing on the 31st.

What do you do to get your guys to be more physical?
Swinney: That's [LSU's] style of play, a different style than we see every week, with the world of college football the way it is right now, as far as downhill, get in the I. A lot of times it's two tights, two backs, one wide and it doesn't really matter if it's third-and-10. That's just a style of play that they're committed to. You have to present those type of situations in practice, to prepare your team. We've had a good plan. Done a good job with that. Just a lot of physical work.

Your players seem to be putting a lot of emphasis on this game, as far as reestablishing Clemson's identity. Are you doing that, as well?
Swinney: No, I'm just trying to get them ready to win. I'm not into all the side shows. It's really just trying to play our best four quarters of football. It's an opportunity, for sure, for us to do something that hasn't been done here in a long time…we haven't been at this doorstep many times in our program's history. It's a great opportunity, from that standpoint.

You win this game, it's a great accomplishment, finish off a really good season, set your eyes on taking another step, doing bigger and better things. The next step for us is trying to win them all. This is a team that represents the best of the best. LSU is a great team. We're not a great team, not yet. We're on our way, from a program standpoint. LSU is a great football team, they're a great program, because they've earned that with the consistency that they've played with -- national champion, played for it less than 12 months ago…they represent where we want to go, from a program standpoint, that type of national competitive consistency. It's a great opportunity.

How important is it to win a bowl game, for the offseason?
Swinney: The big thing is, it creates energy, momentum. You walk around campus with a little bit better swag in you, so to speak. But, at the end of the day, once mat drills are over and you start spring ball in March, it's a different team. Whether you win the bowl game and you lose the bowl game, when you start spring ball and you get into camp, people still want to talk about that last game. But it doesn't help you win the next one. Just like all offseason and summer, people wanted to make sure we were reminded, play-by-play, of the Orange Bowl. That's a part of it. That's just the way it is. That game didn't have anything to do with us winning our opener. It was a different team, different personalities, different chemistry, guys getting better and maturing in their process of becoming better players.

Same thing, you win the bowl game, you go back to work. You've got to be recommitted to the basics. It gives you good momentum. It's great for your fan base, because it's so long before you play again. That's what everybody wants to write about, that last one. That's just the way it is.

What did Ole Miss do well when they played against them?
Swinney: Ole Miss did a tremendous job at the line of scrimmage, on both sides. They did a really good job, physically, matching up. The big problem they had, that's a big problem with this team, they're a field position football team. LSU, I think, had three starting possessions inside Ole Miss' 20, two turnovers and, I think, they muffed a punt. That's not a good recipe. You want to make these guys play on an 80-yard field or longer, not a 20-yard field, because that's who they are. That's their style of play. They're going to commit to what they do. They're going to play great defense. They're going to make some timely plays on offense.

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