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ACC Kickoff Preview: Clemson

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2020 Record: 10-2

All-time series: 7-2 Clemson

Last Meeting: 10/24/20, 47-21 Clemson

What to Know About the Tigers:

Well, you already know they’re good. In fact, many voices around the college football landscape including NCAA.com have them ranked either 1 or 2 in the nation as of right now. Somehow though, Syracuse always seems to put up a fight. Obviously, everyone remembers the biggest upset in recent Syracuse history back in 2017 when the Orange took down the No.2 ranked Tigers inside the Dome, but do they remember that SU almost had a win down in death valley the very next season? 2019 was nothing to write home about, but even 2020’s lopsided final score was close for three quarters. On paper, Syracuse will probably get demolished, but hey, you never know. The Tigers feature an all-new future top 5 pick at quarterback this season in D.J. Uiagalelei. The 6-4 250 lb hurler is set to have a historic season after learning from Trevor Lawrence for a year. The defense features 6th-year linebacker, James Skalski who now serves as the ‘Pete Rose’ of the Clemson football team per Dabo Swinney, both acting as a player and sort of coach. The Tigers are set to have a great season yet again, expect it to be that way.

Head Coach – Dabo Swinney, 13th year, 140-33 at Clemson

On new NIL rules: “I’ve never been apprehensive about NIL. That’s not the story. People hear what they want to hear, they write want they want to write, and people believe what they want to believe. My comments were that I’m against the professionalization of college athletics, always have been always will be. I’m for education, graduating, and equipping young people through the game of football for life. That’s what it’s always been about for me, that’s what it’s always going to be about. This has not changed the collegiate model, this just is common sense…I worked all through college, there wasn’t a day I didn’t work on my time…for our kids not to have the opportunity to work on their time? I’ve never agreed with that. That’s a common-sense thing to me.”

On potential CFP expansion: “My opinion doesn’t mean anything. That train has left the station. I think sitting around talking about what this coach thinks or that coach thinks is a waste of time at this point. I think the expansion of the playoff is inevitable. I think the conversation needs to be, ‘How do we get it right for the player?’….most importantly, what do the players want? To ask these guys to show up earlier…to have no break between a championship and another game, to play more games….I don’t think that’s what’s best for the player.”

D.J. Uiagalelei – Sophomore, Quarterback

2020: 5 TDs, 914 yds, 66.7%

On stepping into this season as the true leader: “It was definitely a blessing to get some starts last season….I learned a lot backing up Trevor….he’s the true definition of a professional.”

Matt Bockhorst – Redshirt Senior, Offensive Guard

2020: 12 games, 2nd-team All-ACC

On potentially playing more games in the CFP: “I definitely share Coach Swinney’s sentiment, I don’t necessarily feel comfortable adding another game. I think that if we’re going to talk about expansion of the playoffs we also have to talk about shortening the regular season. As an offensive lineman, when you start getting up to 14-15 games that’s quite a few snaps, especially given the situation we were presented with last year with lack of depth, the snaps add up quickly….I’m not here to get anyone’s pity but it’s much easier said than done.”

James Skalski – Redshirt Senior, Linebacker

2020: 34 Tot Tackles, 2.0 TFL, 1.0 sack

On becoming a coach past his collegiate career: “I show up every day and I’m in love with what I do….I just can’t think of my life without the game of football….in some form or fashion, I’ll be around this game, that’s how I see it.”

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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