Dabo Swinney Talks Clemson’s Noon Crowd, Kickers, Injuries, FSU Offense

Dabo Swinney isn’t worried an early kickoff in a critical game will de-energize the home faithful at Memorial Stadium. 

When No. 4 Florida State shows up at high noon, Swinney expects a game-affecting crowd. 

“I don’t have any doubt, the Tigers will show up,” Swinney said Wednesday in his final meeting with the media before the big game. “That’s what makes Clemson special. Our fans show up and they’re passionate. I expect there to be a ton of juice.”

Clemson will need a raucous environment against an FSU team that’s favored against the Tigers. 

Here’s what Swinney had to say about injuries, kickers, and the Seminoles’ offense that’s averaging 43.7 points per game:

  • New Clemson kicker Jonathan Weitz is “ready if needed,” Swinney said. Weitz, a former walk-on, was working on his graduate degree in Charleston until Swinney called him this week and asked him to come back.
  • Robert Gunn III, who’s struggled to make field goals and extra points, will handle kickoff duties and long field-goal attempts. 
  • Starting right guard Walker Parks practiced Tuesday but was held out Wednesday as he’s dealiing with a lower-body injury that still has him listed as “day-to-day,” Swinney said. 
  • Safety/nickel Andrew Mukuba (lower-body injury) will be a game-time decision. He’s missed the last two games. 
  • Swinney is impressed with FSU’s running backs catching the ball and the use of playaction. “We have to find a way to be great on first down. That’s a huge part of what makes them successful.”
  • Swinney said FSU quarterback Jordan Travis is a very different player than the one they saw a few years ago. The game looks slow for him. He doesn’t flinch. He doesn’t panic. He’s got great poise and he understands the system and what they’re doing.”
  • Clemson hasn’t had anyone on the scout team who can simulate FSU receiver Johnny Wilson, a 6-foot-7 ballhawk. “We don’t have a number 14, that’s for sure.”
  • Swinney was asked if he thought about asking Clemson men’s basketball coach Brad Brownell if he could borrow a player and Swinney said he wouldn’t have gotten one. But if he could, he’d like to get Clemson forward Ian Schieffelin playing tight end or defensive end when he’s done with basketball. “He’s the Hunter Renfrow of their team.”

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