Swinney received the good news for Clemson before Monday’s practice after the players’ latest round of tests and said the Tigers are as healthy as they’ve been in a while.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Swinney said. “They’re really locked in and doing a great job doing what they’ve got to do, (to) stay as healthy as they possibly can.”
The Tigers (2-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) return to action Saturday night against Virginia (1-0, 1-0), which finally played its season opener last week and defeated Duke 38-20.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence said he’s confident in his teammates’ efforts to stay safe. He can’t vouch for those outside the program, however.
“I think, having a bye weekend, on campus, all the students are here, you do kind of worry a little bit of some situations you can’t avoid and just being careful,” Lawrence said. “But we handled it great.”
Much like Lawrence and the Tigers have handled things on the field in their first two games.
Clemson has outscored its opponents 86-13 and the defense posted its first shutout in four years with in a 49-0 victory over The Citadel.
Lawrence, who has said he plans for this to be his final college season, has been impressive. He’s completed more than 81% of his passes for 519 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Lawrence has also rushed for three of Clemson’s six TDs on the ground.
Lawrence credits his strong start to the work he put in since his only college loss, a 42-25 defeat to LSU in the national title game last January.
“I’ve just learned that this game’s a lot more mental than physical,” he said.
Lawrence has used the extended fall camp caused by the coronavirus pandemic to work on footwork and technique to improve his accuracy. So far, that work is paying off.
Lawrence should get a difficult test from the Cavaliers’ secondary, which had five interceptions last week in beating Duke. The Blue Devils’ starting quarterback is ex-Tigers backup — and Lawrence’s good friend Chase Brice.
Lawrence said he and Brice exchange text some about the game already and could chat more. But Lawrence also has his own history with Virginia to draw on, passing for 302 yards and four touchdowns in Clemson’s 62-17 ACC title game win over the Cavaliers last December.
Virginia cornerback Nick Grant said that game was an awakening for the team about what was necessary to take down the Tigers. He believes they’ll be better prepared mentally this week for that challenge.
“We know we can make the plays,” Grant said. “It’s just lining up, knowing what they’re doing and just going out there and executing.”
That will be difficult with Clemson as close to full strength as Swinney believes they are headed into this all-ACC stretch of games.