CLEMSON – Dabo Swinney has a new role – he’s a voter in the coaches top 25 poll – and is letting his defense practice something new: tackling.

In an effort to improve his team’s defensive performance, Swinney made the decision to allow full tackling last week prior to the Boston College game. Swinney said the vast majority of college teams do not allow defenses to tackle first- and-second team offensive players in practice during live scrimmage action. But, for the first time during his tenure, he allowed his defense to participate in full tackling the last two weeks.

Typically, defenders are only allowed to “thud up” offensive players, not take them to the ground.

“I’d say I made a mistake,” said Swinney of not allowing live tackling. “Last week I felt like the only way were going to get better is simulate game speed in practice, to just go live and tackle to the ground, to try to and fix some of our problems. I felt like we had a confidence problem as far as finishing plays.”

Swinney said he thinks the full tackling produced better tackling at Boston College. He said he will not keep the practice throughout the year but wanted to take advantage of timing with next week’s open date.

Swinney revealed Wednesday that he is a first-time voter in the coaches top 25 poll.

Swinney said he ranked Clemson “No. 14 or No. 15” this week and also included Louisiana Tech in his poll.

Swinney said he stayed up late Saturday night putting his poll together.

“I did it on the plane, I was up late trying to do my rankings,” Swinney said. “It’s been great. It’s been fun. I’ve seen highlights and (boxscores). Of course I have my lists from last week and know how those guys did, what are their scores, then I have a list of other teams I’m watching. I want to put a lot them in there.”