CLEMSON – Clemson’s head coach Sunday night Dabo Swinney turned to the media to further discuss his team’s win over Miami on Saturday and of course the week ahead before next Saturday’s defeat of rivals South Carolina in Death Valley.
The Tigers (10-1, 8-0), who start Sunday as 14-point favorites over the Gamecocks (7-4, 4-4), are seeking their eighth straight win of the series.
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The following is an abridged transcript of Sunday’s conference call.
OPENING STATEMENTS: “Just a good game from our lads. I’m proud of our lads. Offensive again a quick start. Consecutive games where we had a good balance. We had a couple of big drops but worked better with penalties. We got that Just controlled play. We were 14 of 19 on third downs. We got 100 percent in the red zone. I thought DJ did a great job as did Mitchell coming in. Outside of the third quarter where we had a turnover fest, we were very solid. Lots of good things in the game.
“Defensively, we were dominant. 98 yards total and only eight at half and 40 of those yards came in one game. We won the line of scrimmage. Those are back-to-back games where we influenced the quarterback. We created more takeaways. We were cleaner on penalties. We had a couple of critical mistakes and a few misses that we need to iron out. I just loved the way the team performed against a team that got a big win. A fun evening. A good volume to the note.
“We have to focus on this game now. Thanksgiving changes our routine a bit. We have a big challenge ahead of us.”
Q: What did you see on the coverage bust?
SWINNEY: “It was on Mukuba. He read the wrong signal. We got lucky right there. Ruke had a one-on-one block with the guard and beat him. Just a missed signal.”
Q: The way South Carolina blew up Tennessee last night will cause some intrigue this week. As for your players and how they view the game?
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SWINNEY: “It doesn’t matter what your records are or what you make of them. This is a game where you throw away all that stuff. It’s all about this game. It’s not about what you did last year or throughout this year. It’s how you play those four quarters. As you saw yesterday, college football is unpredictable. It’s hard to win. This is the biggest game of the year and a season of its own. It’s a goal of its own. It’s fun to take part in this game. I’ve been to a lot of rivalry games. It’s a fun week to prepare for and a game where both teams will give their all to find a path to victory.”
Q: Any further clarifications on Marcus Tate?
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SWINNEY: “He’s going to fall out. We have good news and bad news. His cruciate ligament is good, but there’s like a ligament or tendon… that’s where he injured himself. He needs surgery to fix it. He’ll be fine go. The bad news is he will be out for us. I’m happy for him because he’s played 11 games and he’s still a young player who’s grown a lot this year. He has a lot of confidence and played like that much faster and stronger than last year. He can tackle for us too. It’s unfortunate that his season was cut short but a blessing that he’s had the year he has.”
Q: How did you rate Mitchell Mayes yesterday? And does it change anything with Collin Sadler?
SWINNEY: “Mitchell has been doing well. He’s basically started back-to-back games and we’ve had 400+ yards in each of the last two games. He’s done a good job. I’m glad he’s got that kind of experience made. He had to play a lot of snaps. Very good for him. I’m glad we were able to get those twos in late as well. As for Sadler, we’re definitely going to play him how we need to, but we do we We’ll try to hold him down if we can. We have one more game against him.”
Q: The timetable for Tate’s return?
SWINNEY: “He’ll be back for spring training but he’ll probably just wear a green jersey and do individual stuff. I don’t think he will train or go full throttle in the spring.”
Q: What do you think of South Carolina’s offensive blast last night? Were you able to see some of this?
SWINNEY: “I was able to watch a fair bit of it last night after I got home. It’s a tough place to play. Your quarterback was great. Momentum is a strong thing. They played a full game at all stages. Tennessee, it wasn’t their night. You have to give South Carolina full credit for that. Their quarterback was just outstanding. Lots of big games.”
Q: Your thoughts on Jeremiah Trotter last night? The PBU game in particular?
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SWINNEY: “He read it (the PBU) but went a bit flat. He did a great job recovering and defending that. He’s a really good player, just like we hoped. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and is starting to become a leader for us.”
Q: You mentioned Spencer Rattler. What stands out about him not only from last night but also from other films you’ve seen of his this year?
SWINNEY: “I watched him when he was in Oklahoma. He was a highly recruited guy. He throws well on the move. He’s just a really good football player. That’s why he was the starter in Oklahoma and recruited as highly as he was. Everything you want in a quarterback, he’s got it. He has a great arm and is a competitor.
Q: Is Beaux coming back this week?
SWINNEY: “We’re hopeful. It’s still day-to-day. He was close last week.”
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