CLEMSON — Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and the No. 1 Clemson Tigers will be facing two opponents this week when they travel to face the Syracuse Orange — the team and the crowd.
Playing inside The Dome, formerly The Carrier Dome, is a unique atmosphere for opposing teams. Which is why the Tigers will try to utilize their indoor facility to do their best to recreate the atmosphere they will face Saturday night.
"Absolutely. It can definitely impact the way you communicate," Swinney said. "We have to be able to function. It can really impact you if you don't prepare and if you're not locked in. You have to have mental toughness and focus to block those things out. If external factors determine your performance, you probably won't be a good player. Because you don't control external factors. We try to make conditions unrealistic here in our indoor facility.
"It's confined. There is an echo. There is nowhere for the noise to go. You let them get it going up there, it'll get rocking. They're expecting a big crowd. It's a night game, it's on ABC, a national audience, so they want to put their best foot forward."
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The Tigers lost in their last trip to face the Orange inside The Dome. However, with a team that boasts 80 freshmen and sophomores, chances are very few that these current Tigers have faced the Orange at Syracuse.
Because of that, Swinney will remind his team of a few basic tips, but will not make a big deal about the Tigers taking to the road for the first time this season – something he loves.
"We'll talk about some tips that I discuss before we hit our first road game. I think it's important to revisit those things," Swinney said. "If you're a good player, you're going to be a good player wherever you go. I don't make a big deal out of all of that stuff. I love going on the road. At home there is a natural energy. On the road, you have to draw from that energy and not let it drain you. I love it. It takes a certain mindset and mental toughness. We can only have 72 guys travel. We have 120 on the roster."