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Sunday night news and notes as Dabo previews South Carolina


  by - Senior Writer - Sunday, November 18, 2012 7:33 PM
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CLEMSON – The Clemson Tigers are 10-1 and are riding a seven-game winning streak, but the success of the season in many ways comes down to this Saturday’s home game against rival South Carolina, a team that sits at 9-2 and has won three straight in the series.

Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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addressed members of the media as part of his weekly teleconference Sunday evening, and he said that South Carolina is the same tough opponent he has team has faced in those three losses.

“Same old South Carolina. What we've seen the last several years. It's a very talented group,” Swinney told the media. “It's as good a team as we've played. They're right there for sure with Florida State. Their defense is outstanding, just lights out with the type of personnel they have. They create a lot of pressure. A lot of the same guys are back from last year. Their quarterback really killed us last year. They've got some playmakers outside. We're just getting into studying them personnel-wise. They're outstanding in the return game. The way we covered last night, that's a concern. We'll have to execute consistently for four quarters. So we've got our hands full."

South Carolina features one of the best defensive lines in the country, but Swinney said he feels comfortable with how well Clemson’s offensive line has played.

"I'm encouraged that our guys have performed well throughout the year,” he said. “We've had some spots where we were inconsistent as a group. Listen, this is a tough matchup regardless of how you play. You won't go against a better group in the country than what we're going to see. You want to play against the best and they present that challenge. We'll find out with how our guys respond to it. It'll take a great effort on our part."

However, Swinney played coy on many questions, concerning the Gamecocks, keeping his answers short and to the point.

On if both teams being ranked high at the season could become common: “If both schools continue to recruit well, then I would say that's a strong possibility. Time will tell."

On his relationship with South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier: "Whenever I'm around him, our relationship has always been very cordial. I have a lot of respect for him. But it's not about me or coach Spurrier It's about the guys playing the game and that's where we need to focus."

Swinney did say that cornerback Bashaud Breelnd was doubtful for the South Carolina game, but the Tigers are healthy everywhere else.

“Everybody has bumps and bruises. But we're pretty healthy,” he said. “We've got a lot of guys who have aches and pains, but as a group we've been pretty blessed there. We've had some guys miss some time here or there. For 11 ballgames in, we're in good shape."

On the game against N.C. State

"Wild and wacky game last night. All wins are great wins in my vision. Just proud of our guys. The big thing is we responded to adversity last night. You're up quick and then you're down 24-13. I just liked how they responded and I liked how the staff responded. A lot of things were accomplished. Offensively, 754 yards and there were a lot of good things. The offensive line did outstanding. The big penalty was a 50-yard run called back. We had some drops which were disappointing. We still haven't played our best game. We have a lot to challenge them with this week.

"Defensively, it was a poor first half. They had four, one-play touchdowns. That was 28 points. But I thought we really came back and played better in the second half. The interception, we gave them a short field. Sacks were big and the stops on fourth down were big. We created turnovers and competed with great effort all night long. We blocked another kick and Catman kicked two more field goals. Our kickoff coverage was poor. We're still improving. We've got another opportunity this week. We've got to put it all together. This is an outstanding team we're getting ready to play. We'll have to execute at a high level for four quarters to win the game. I look forward to diving into the film here tonight. It's a great opportunity for us. I'm proud of our team.”

Players of the game

“[Vic] Beasley and [Xavier] Brewer were players of the game on defense. Tajh [Boyd] and Andre [Ellignton] on offense."

On Brandon FordBrandon Ford
Gr. Tight End
#80 6-4, 240
Wando, SC

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“That's what you want to have in your program as you graduate great players. He's stepped up. In fact yesterday I felt it was his best game of the year. He's improved so much with his blocking. He's a very smart player. He's helped his team a ton. I think he's proven he can play after Clemson. I'm pleased with the job he's done all year."

On the play of LT Brandon ThomasBrandon Thomas
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#63 6-3, 305
Spartanburg, SC

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and the line over the last month

"He's had a good year. He really has. He was kind of up and down for a little while, but the last few weeks he's put it together. He's played outstanding football. He's played a lot of snaps and has not had many mental errors. Our o-line as a whole has had its best couple of ballgames here - Duke, Maryland and N.C. State. They've played well as a unit and that's been a good thing to see them put it together as a group. The last two games we've played the team that's led the league in sacks and we've given up zero. Just proud of that group and the pride that they've taken to get better. The leadership of Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
Gr. Center
#55 6-5, 265
Pelion, SC

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has been awesome. Robbie CaldwellRobbie Caldwell
Assistant Coach / Offensive Line
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has done a fantastic job of preparing them every week."

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