Clemson's Dabo Swinney Excited for Home Opener

Zach Lentz

Clemson will return to Death Valley for the first time in 2020 when the Tigers welcome The Citadel Bulldogs for Clemson's lone non-conference tilt of the 2020 regular season. Kickoff at Memorial Stadium is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET.

Clemson enters its 2020 home opener riding a school-record 22-game home winning streak, the nation's longest active streak. Clemson's home crowds have seldom left disappointed in the College Football Playoff era, as the Tigers are an FBS-best 41-1 at home since 2014. 

However, this year the home-field advantage will look different, as less than 20,000 fans will be allowed in to watch the Tigers take on The Citadel this week. But even with a diminished crowd, head coach Dabo Swinney is still excited about standing at the top of the hill for.the 410th time in school history, rubbing The Rock and kicking off the 2020 home slate of games.

"Super excited about being at home. It's always special" Swinney said. "We only get six home games this year...But we're just happy to have the opportunity to be at home, and we want to enjoy every single opportunity that we get and I know have a great appreciation for all that's gone into making it happen here are our game day operations folks, logistics people event management staff, everybody. Dan (Radakovich), and everybody over and our athletic department they've done an unbelievable job in creating...a great atmosphere, with the constraints that are in place so it's gonna be a lot of fun looking forward to that.

Even though the Tigers are taking a one-game hiatus from conference play to take on the Bulldogs, Swinney was quick to remind those listening that this is a dangerous team.

"They are a proud team," Swinney said. "They went to Georgia Tech last year and beat them, you know, they beat South Carolina they went to Tuscaloosa a couple years ago, 10-to-10 and a half time."

This week will offer a unique challenge to the Tigers, not because of who they are playing, but the style of play.

"They're an option football team and take a lot of pride in what they do," Swinney said. They can embarrass you quickly, if you, if you, you know, play with the type of discipline that it takes every single play for four quarters, because they keep attacking they're gonna do what they do, they're aggressive with their passing game. You know, you got to have a great job staying on your feet, it's just it is option football or by doing their job and just doing their job...can't be bored doing their job. Backside discipline backside pursuit, the corners and the safeties they've got to be incredibly disciplined with their eyes.

"And we got to, we got to do a good job of that D line keeping them off our backers and being able to stay on our feet so there's just a lot. It's just a completely different challenge from the style of play that we're going to see."

It is not only the offensive side of the ball where Swinney sees a talented team on film, but the defense for the Citadel also returns nine starters. If the Tigers are a team that expects to compete for a national title, they will have to show up and show out regardless of the opponent. 

"I'm excited about it for the challenge and again for us about Clemson about who we play for," Swinney said. "We're a so-called top team out there, and we show up every week with a lot to prove. And we certainly got a lot to prove and a lot to improve as we keep moving forward through this season, but we're off to a good start."