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Swinney: Saturday special for many reasons


  by Nikki Steele - Staff Writer - Tuesday, November 19, 2013 12:11 PM
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CLEMSON - The Clemson Tigers may be playing a FCS opponent this week, but the storylines are multiple.

Military Appreciation Day. Senior Day. President Barker’s last day. Final home game of the 2013 season.

Death Valley will be saying ‘so long’ to some of Clemson’s greatest – Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Sr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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, Chandler CatanzaroChandler Catanzaro
Gr. Punter / Kicker
#39 6-2, 195
Greenville, SC

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, Phillip FajgenbaumPhillip Fajgenbaum
Gr. Long Snapper
#52 6-0, 220
Raleigh, NC

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, Roderick McDowellRoderick McDowell
Gr. Running Back
#25 5-9, 195
Sumter, SC

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, Tyler ShatleyTyler Shatley
Gr. Offensive Guard
#62 6-3, 295
Icard, NC

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, Spencer ShueySpencer Shuey
Gr. Linebacker
#33 6-3, 230
Charlotte, NC

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, Darrell SmithDarrell Smith
Gr. Fullback
#40 6-1, 250
Gadsden, AL

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, and Brandon ThomasBrandon Thomas
Gr. Offensive Line
#63 6-3, 305
Spartanburg, SC

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to name a few.

While emotions are high with an era coming to a close, Clemson will also pay tribute to America’s heroes – the United States military.

Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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said that this week’s game against The Citadel will be special for so many reasons.

“This is a special week for us and for everybody associated with our program,” Swinney said during his weekly press conference. “It's a great thrill and honor to recognize the efforts and sacrifices our military have made for us. And it's senior day. It's a really special time that gets frozen in time. What a special group this is. This has been a very special group to coach and be around the last four or five years. These guys are leaving quite a legacy here at Clemson.”

The Citadel has won three in a row, but the Bulldogs are a triple-option team – an offense that Clemson had a lot of success against in last week’s win over Georgia Tech.

“The Citadel has won three in a row. This is their last game. This is their bowl game if you will,” Swinney said. “They are 5-6 but five of their six losses have been by less than a touchdown. They have competed very hard which is indicative of head coach Kevin Higgns. He reminds me a lot of Jack LeggettJack Leggett
Baseball Head Coach
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. Great guy. Great family man. Great role model.

“Offensively, same thing from last week. Triple option. They are a little different with formations and they will use their tight end a little bit more. Their senior quarterback has right at 1,000 yards. Their running back does too. Defensively it's a four-man front. They had nine starters back on defense this year. All of the secondary and linebackers are back and they are near the top of their conference in all of the defensive categories.”

This will mark the first time in Swinney’s career that Clemson will face an FCS team the week before the annual rivalry game with South Carolina.

“I don't know when that was hatched,” Swinney said of the scheduling. “I liked it when I saw it. This year we went from the nine game to the eight game schedule. I think it's good for both South Carolina and Clemson. Mid-major team. We've been battling trying to win the division every year against a conference opponent.”

Other notes

On the senior class legacy

“Transformed Clemson. Changed the culture at Clemson. Set the standard and made it realistic to achieve that standard. Winners. They have the chance to be the winningest group since the 80s. They have a ton of records and a ton of firsts. It's not just this group but it's all the people involved. This is my first cycle with a senior class. 10 scholarship guys. All of our guys are important to me.”

On facing the triple-option for a second straight week

“That's a great question. I thought about that last spring. It was one of the first things that went through my mind. We work a little option stuff throughout the year and we still do a lot of good on good and when we do that we aren't doing it with the triple option. That's how we stay sharp. I really believe in that. You have to work good on good throughout the season in every week. When we go against each other we are running our offense versus our defense. You stay sharp that way. It's enhanced more this week because we are practicing against the triple option every day.”

On the end of the Auburn-Georgia game

“Knock the ball down. There's nobody behind you. Knock the ball down. That's why you teach that because crazy things happen. You coach those things because bad things happen. Don't let anybody behind you. You practice that throughout fall camp. You dial them up and you execute them. It's the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. You keep coming back for more because it was fun.”

On Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
Jr. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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impact and if he will run down The Hill with seniors

“No. We don't honor juniors. We do a good job of honoring juniors at the banquet. Guys that have been here four years and are graduating, then that's different. Nobody owes us a fifth year and to be honest we don't owe them that. It's graduation until we part. That's what I tell them. Matt PorterMatt Porter
RS Jr. Wide Receiver
#87 5-11, 190
Charleston, SC

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is an example. But with juniors- we honor them at our banquet if they are coming out. That's a different deal.

“Sammy hasn't told me he's leaving. Who knows? I think he's the best receiver in the country. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. He's been unbelievable. His career has been well documented. He's got a chance to break Aaron Kelly's record and he's only done it three years. I can't imagine him not winning the Biletnikoff. One of the most low-maintenance super stars I've ever dealt with. You can kick him in the tail or you can love him and he always responds. He sets the tempo on this team.”


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