Dabo Swinney Sunday Teleconference


by - Senior Writer -
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*The Clemson Tigers will have their fifth home game in seven starts and sixth overall this season start at noon when they take on the South Carolina Gamecocks this Saturday at Death Valley. Clemson Sports Information Director Tim Bourret said he is unsure if that is a record for early starts, but does mark the most in recent memory.

*Defensive end Rickey Sapp is out for the South Carolina game. Swinney said he had a partial ACL tear and will have surgery in another week or so. The defensive staff will move Kevin Alexander into Sapp's spot, and start Da'Quan Bowers on the other side. Defensive back Chris Clemons, who suffered a knee strain, and Swinney said they will monitor his status this week, but he thinks Clemons should be able to go.

*Saturday's game marked the first time that Clemson has held consecutive ACC opponents under 200 yards of total offense since 1979. It was also the eighth straight game they have held their opponent to under 200 yards passing. "I thought the defense played with great demeanor, toughness and a physicality that represents Clemson football," Swinney said. "We had the interceptions and a caused fumble, and we tackled well. We had a couple of big fourth down stops, which was a great thing for our defense."

*Offensively, Swinney said he was disappointed in just a few parts of the offensive package. "I am disappointed that we missed a couple of conversions - there were some opportunities that were there, and we should have been at 50% or more (conversion rate). We had some drops and missed some plays that we should have made. In the running game, we went to more of gap scheme, and when we had to take it over we took it over. On that last drive, there were a couple of things that were critical: we had 10 straight runs, and they had to use their timeouts, which was big. The offensive line hung in there and they battled."

*On whether his job uncertainty has anything to do with Saturday, or if he thinks about it: "This is not about me, it is about these players. I am proud of this team and this coaching staff. Everybody has job concerns, but these coaches have done a great job of putting that on the shelf for eight weeks and coming to work every day not knowing if they have a job or not, and preparing these kids."

*On if the rivalry game will be different for him as a head coach: "It will be no different. I have been in five of them, won four and lost one. I can assure you, I wanted to win as bad as an assistant as I do now."

*On Willy Korn, who did not play Saturday: "I did not feel good putting him in there (because of his health). It is something we will continue to check on, and probably going to do MRI at some point and see if something is creating an issue we don't know about. They (Korn and Michael Wade) will both be prepared, but right now Willy is definitely the backup. We will see how he practices this week and if his status changes at all with throwing the ball."

*On if he had any preference for a bowl game should the Tigers become bowl eligible with a win Saturday: "Any bowl out here, but Hawaii is great if we can work that out. From where we have been, and gotten off the mat, and gone 4-1, I am really proud of them. We are a long way from where we were six weeks ago as a team and I am proud of that. Would love too see the reward of getting to a bowl, love to see it for the seniors. I would like for the young guys to get some practice time, and that is a good situation for whoever is the coach."

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