Tigers not looking past Furman in season opener

THE 10: Clemson gears up for Furman

CLEMSON, SC (WIS) - Everything in the offseason has led to this moment for Clemson. It starts with the opener and, in Tiger Town, the second-ranked Clemson Tigers host Furman.

"I'm really excited," said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. "I really am. This is just so much fun."

On paper, Saturday's showdown is a slight mismatch. The Tigers are favored by more than 40 points. It would appear all signs point to a big Tigers victory in Death Valley, but don't tell that to Dabo. Clemson approaches every game with the same mentality. Plus, he stresses every season opener is tough.

"Some people say, 'Well, you're playing Furman. It's a game Clemson should win,'" said Swinney. "Furman has beaten Clemson 10 times. 'Supposed to' don't get it done. It's a game of performance. You better show up every single week."

That same approach applies to the quarterback battle. All summer long, the spotlight shined on the competition between the signal callers.

"At quarterback, we got really talented guys," added Swinney.

Senior Kelly Bryant beat out freshman Trevor Lawrence for the starting spot opening day. It does not mean he's guaranteed to keep it.

"You're not entitled to start," said Swinney. "Nobody has given him anything. He's earned it, but Trevor has earned the opportunity to play."

Both quarterbacks have impressed Coach Swinney throughout preseason camp. He's proud of Bryant and how he handled the quarterback competition, along with those on the outside doubting him to keep his starting spot.

"He's been a breath of fresh air because he's locked in on himself," added Swinney. "He's had an awesome camp."

Swinney feels the same way about Lawrence.

"He's a gifted guy," said Swinney. "He's 6'6, 216 pounds. Mentally, he's in a good place. He's demonstrated a really good command. He's had a really good camp."

Clemson will feature the one-two punch of Bryant and Lawrence under center in the opener. How Bryant and Lawrence performs will determine their future role on the field.

"They're in control of their performance," said Swinney. "Grading them on their knowledge, execution, and performance. That's where we are. IF something changes, we will all see it. It's not like practice. Y'all get to watch the games. Everybody will have a front row seat to see it."

Make sure to be in yours Saturday. Clemson and Furman are set to play at 12:20 p.m.

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