CLEMSON — Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney met with the media Thursday evening and put to rest any doubt about how he feels about his Tigers being named a unanimous No. 1 team in the nation.
"They shouldn't even do a poll until October, to be honest with you," Swinney said. "It's such a waste of time. I mean, who knows? We got over 40 new people on this team, and we're supposed to be this great team? Gimme a break."
His comments do not come as a surprise for a coach having preached a "windshield mentality" since he took over the job in 2008.
“The con (to being ranked No. 1) is it just doesn’t matter,” Swinney said earlier this week. “It is just a distraction for people to ask me questions about it because it just does not matter. Unless they bring us a trophy and tear the concrete out over there and put preseason champs up there, I don’t think we are going to do that. So it just does not matter.
“That is probably the only con; it creates conversation that is unnecessary because it is not worth the paper it is printed on.
One area where Swinney is excited is with his secondary, where he named Derion Kendrick the starter, opposite A.J. Terrell, for the Tigers' opener against Georgia Tech.
"We wish he would have gotten all the work — there's no doubt about that," Swinney said. "I think he definitely would have been further along had he been out there every day of camp. But he's back and healthy. We were very cautious in bringing him back, and he's been out there since the weekend. So he'll have a good couple weeks under his belt. Wish he would have gotten a little more live work but it is what it is."
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Swinney believes that, given the fact that this will be the first game at cornerback for the converted wide receiver, the Yellow Jackets will attempt to take advantage of his inexperience. But Swinney is confident that Kendrick will hold his own.
"I'm sure (Kendrick) will be one they're going after early." Swinney said. "Those guys better be ready. I look over there and see No. 8 (A.J. Terrell). Then I look on the other side and see whoever it is, D.K. or Mario Goodrich or Sheridan Jones or LeAnthony Williams, that's where I'm going. I think that's just common sense.
"Just like that D-line man, they better be ready. Cause you know what I'm going to do if I'm playing that D-line? I will come right at them and see if I can bloody their nose and see if they like it. Test the water, stick your toe in there and see what it's like."
True freshman tight end Davis Allen was in a green jersey, after missing all of camp with a knee injury, and fellow true freshman wide receiver Frank Ladson was also in a green jersey after missing the last couple of weeks with a knee injury that had to be "cleaned up" via surgery.
But even though Swinney was non-committal on whether Ladson would play, he did not rule out Allen playing against Georgia Tech.
"That's what impressed me about Davis Allen — he can go out there and function," Swinney said. "He can go play. I mean, he's really worked hard on the things he can control. He's missed a lot of physical reps, but mentally he's sharp. So it's been really good to see him out there these past few days and today in pads."