Clemson has won four consecutive bowl games heading into its showdown with Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31, and Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said Clemson’s preparation in the upstate has been key to the Tigers’ success.
Clemson will have practice time in Phoenix prior to its showdown with the Buckeyes, but the Tigers will have most of their game plan installed prior to boarding the plane for Arizona on Dec. 26.
Clemson will practice in the upstate until Dec. 21 before taking a break for Christmas. Players will return Christmas Day and have a final practice Dec. 26 in Clemson before heading out west.
“We want to get the majority of the work done here,” Swinney said Tuesday. “I think that’s one thing that I’ve learned over the years. … If you’re trying to figure out what you want to do on third down and you’re at the bowl site, that’s really not the best environment to be doing that. We try to be efficient and be decisive and really want to finalize the plan for the most part before we take a little break.”
After arriving in Arizona, Clemson will add the final details to its game plan and refresh what it’s already put in to make sure everyone is on the same page entering the College Football Playoff semifinal.
“It’s about details. It’s polishing. It’s kind of next level from a getting the plan down standpoint.,” Swinney said. “That’s really how we try to do it. That brings confidence and leads to good execution.”
Swinney started off 1-3 as a head coach in bowl games before winning his last four. Those victories have come against LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma the past two years.
Swinney said his postseason plan has for the most part stayed the same, but he’s always looking for ways to improve.
“Really since ’09, we haven’t changed a whole lot. … We’ve got a good formula in place,” Swinney said. “I’m always studying it. I’m always researching it. That’s one of the things that I do when I get with other coaches. I’m always just kind of picking other people’s brains, whether it’s practice schedules or postseason schedules, camp schedules, you name it.”
During bowl practices, whether at home or at the site, Swinney takes notes on what he likes and doesn’t like, or what his team responds to and what his team doesn’t respond as well to, then tweaks it the next year.
“I’ll look at that, revisit that when we get to this time of the year,” he said. “But as far as our logistics and planning and how we structure it very little changes.”