All Hands on Deck

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney Dabo Swinney
Head Coach
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walked out of Wednesday’s practice with a smile on his face , he joked with reporters and generally acted like a coach with good news to share.

The good news – running back Zac BrooksZac Brooks
So. Running Back
#24 6-1, 185
Jonesboro, AR

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’ shoulder injury wasn’t as bad as originally feared, and he will be available to play in Saturday’s game at South Carolina. Running back C.J. DavidsonC.J. Davidson
RS So. Running Back
#32 5-11, 185
Clemson, SC

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will also be ready to go against the Gamecocks – he injured his knee against Virginia earlier this month and hasn’t played since that game.

Swinney said that at least two players face surgery next Monday, but both should be back for bowl practice.

“We have D.J. (Howard) and Hot Rod ( Roderick McDowellRoderick McDowell
Gr. Running Back
#25 5-9, 195
Sumter, SC

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) going in, and now C.J. is back,” Swinney told the media. “I am very happy that he is back. And Zac is actually going to be back. He has practiced this week. They are actually going to do surgery on him Monday. The prognosis was better than we thought, and I think we are going to have a few guys get cleaned up. I think (center Ryan) Norton is one of them. Grady (Jarrett) needs to get scoped, but I think he wants to wait until after the bowl game. This will really help Zac. But C.J. has worked his tail off and I am excited to have him back in the fold. We have more options this week than we had last week.”

Practice actually started earlier than normal because a fire on campus knocked out power.

“Gotta hit the curveball. We had the curveball thrown at us today,” Swinney said. “We had literally just finished my team meeting and getting ready to roll into special teams segments and everything shut down. Just boom. We had no idea what was going on. We thought it might be just a few minutes and it would come back on. We had emergency power, but we couldn’t do anything, no videos or anything. We found out there had been a big fire on campus – one of the transformers or something.

“We just flipped and came on and practiced now. We didn’t get a chance to get our practice corrections from yesterday and our game plan install from a video standpoint. We will go do that right now, finish up special teams and then have our team Thanksgiving dinner tonight. But we’ve had a good week. I like the mentality of our team. They are very focused. We know what we have to do, we just have to go and do it.”

A television reporter tried to ask Swinney about the comparison between this game and the game against Florida St., saying this was the first “big game” the Tigers have played since the loss to the Seminoles, and Swinney cut him off with a laugh.

“Georgia Tech on Thursday night wasn’t a big game? Man, I wish y’all would let me know beforehand,” he said. “I would sleep a lot better. If y’all would let me know when it’s not a big game, I would sleep a lot better. Have you seen our record against Georgia Tech? It ain’t good. But we practiced great that week. We had great practices against Florida St. That just wasn’t reflected in how we played.”

Other notes

On Isaiah BattleIsaiah Battle
So. Offensive Tackle
#79 6-6, 280
Brooklyn, NY

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’s first start in a hostile environment

“He hasn't played in a situation where noise has been a factor," Swinney said. "I think he's ready for the challenge. This is by far the best front he has seen. He got good exposure against Georgia Tech. But he has to be able to hold up.”

On this game having BCS implications

"It's a huge deal. That's what I was trying to say the other day. It's not about revenge and that kind of stuff. We want to win the game because it's a huge game. We want to beat South Carolina period. We want to be 11-1 and go to the BCS. We're talking about elite. That is a level of consistency and superiority over your opponents you want to achieve. South Carolina wants the same thing. Absolutely it's a huge game. There's a lot at stake. There is a lot on the line other than just pride.”

Vic BeasleyVic Beasley
RS Jr. Defensive End
#3 6-3, 225
Adairsville, GA

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’s stats

"He's had a great year. He’s been incredibly productive. He is still up there in sacks and tackles for loss, and there is no doubt that the style of play the last two weeks has hurt those stats.”

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