Losing by just six points in his second season against Clemson as the head coach for Boston College, Jeff Hafley has a lot of respect for Dabo Swinney while still excited for another swing at the Tigers.
"You know, Dabo has been great with me," Hafley said at the ACC Kickoff. "I think Clemson beats you half of the time before you even play the game. I felt like when I was at Ohio State, we beat half the teams we played before we even played the game.
"We were 35 point underdogs going into that game. I think they lost by 50-something points two years back-to-back. I just want my guys to go down and play as hard as they can and compete as hard as they can and not worry about the scoreboard and just be confident. Be fearless, be relentless, then let's look at the score at the end and see where we're at. And they did (that day). I think each game we did. I think even more so; it opened up the eyes to people all over the country that we're coming."
Hafley carries himself in a way that comes off different when he speaks about his team and program. Eerily reminiscent of Dabo Swinney and how he treated Clemson early, Hafley was giddy about a third straight chance to play in Death Valley. Swinney even offered some excitement for Hafley about a future matchup.
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"(The Clemson game) opened up the eyes to people all over the country that were coming," Hafley said. "And it's helped with recruiting. Kids from Georgia turned the game on, kids from the Carolinas turned the game on, and it opened up a lot of people's eyes. But we lost. Right, still lost. So, still pisses me off.
"I remember (Swinney) said to me, 'Hey man, Next time you guys come down. This place is a cool place.' He said, 'You're really not going to see it today because there's only 19,000.' Which, I still think there was more than 19,000 there (last year). I think at halftime, they might have let more people in to get it a little louder when we went up. But he said it's a cool place that you'll get to experience, and at the time I was like 'Yeah, you know next year you'll come and get to experience Boston.' So I guess I get to experience it a year earlier than I thought I would. I'm sure I'll get to really experience how loud Death Valley gets. I can't wait to be there again, my third time in three years getting to play against (Swinney) and I still haven't beaten him."