Into unfamiliar territory

Clemson will venture into unfamiliar territory next Saturday when they visit Upstate New York to welcome Syracuse to the ACC.

A few folks from Dabo Swinney's coaching staff have played or previously coached inside the Carrier Dome, but none of the players have any experience inside that building, so that might change the typical Friday routine on the road.

"Usually we don't go to the stadium of the opponent, but we may stop off and walk-thru, let them kind of eye ball the facilities before we play," Swinney said.

Playing inside the Carrier Dome will present a set of unique challenges.

"The biggest difference is you have a roof," Swinney said. "Your eyes, typically, when you're looking up for passes, when you're catching punts, when you're catching kicks, all of those things, it's totally different when you're inside, because the lighting is over the top of you, as opposed to off to the side and things like that.

"It's just a different background. It is an adjustment, as opposed to playing outside, which is what you do every single day in practice and in most games."

The indoor facility on the Clemson campus will help in this week's preparation. Swinney said it did last year before the bowl game in Atlanta.

"Another thing is, they don't have air conditioning up there in that Carrier Dome. I'm sure -- pack a bunch of people in there -- it can get a little stuffy," Swinney said.

Back in Clemson

The Sunday teleconference with Swinney typically begins at 6 p.m. It started about 15 minutes late this week because Carlos Watkins stopped by Swinney's office.

"Got a chance to spend a little time with Carlos just a little while ago; and his family. It was good to see him -- really, really good to see him, just hug his neck and spend time with his family," Swinney said.

Watkins was not in Clemson on Saturday for the Wake Forest game because he was at home in Forest City, N.C. attending the funeral of a cousin who died in a car accident. Watkins was also a passenger in the vehicle.¬¬

"He's still got some pretty good scrapes and scabs, and things like that. He's pretty beat up," Swinney said. "As far as his arms, legs, organs all that kind of stuff, he looks good."

Moving forward, Swinney said, Watkins' status is an unknown.

"We can really get him in some good therapy and rehab, get him down there in the hot tub and the cold tub, the underwater treadmill, stretching him and just doing a lot of treatment," Swinney said. "He's still pretty sore. I don't really know if he'll be available this week or not. It just depends on how he responds to the treatment we get him down there."

A team win

Swinney called the 56-7 win over Wake Forest the best, most complete win of the four this season.

While that's all well and good, only one thing really matters to him, at the end of the day.

"The objective is to win. I'm not in to pretty wins or ugly wins, all of that. The bottom line is to win, finding ways to win every single week," Swinney said. "But it's good to have a game like this where you can say: If we put it all together, man, we can be a good football team when we compliment each other and execute at such a high level." Top Stories