After 10-1 season, Swinney says it's not all-or-nothing for Tigers against Gamecocks

Coach says South Carolina defense is 'as good as we've played, as good as we will play, as good as anybody will play'

Dabo Swinney gives the team a final pep talk before the game

Dabo Swinney gives the team a final pep talk before the game

Always a huge game for both teams and their fans, Clemson's Tigers appear to the have the 'need factor' solidly on their side as they prepare for Saturday's rivalry showdown against South Carolina.

But it's not all-or-nothing for the Tigers, coach Dabo Swinney said during his news conference on Tuesday.

Asked about those who would consider the season a failure unless the Tigers end their three-year losing streak against the Gamecocks, Swinney said those who think in those terms have no appreciation for the process of winning.

"I think that's a sad way to think about things...People who say that just don't get it," Swinney said. "If you don't win this ballgame, you're incredibly disappointed. You have to live with it all year. But to say that if we don't win this one, we've not had a great year?

"It's hard to win 10 ballgames...If we play our best and give it our all, then I can live with whatever happens on the scoreboard."

Swinney said the Tigers are a far superior team to the one that lost to the Gamecocks last season in Columbia.

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"We're a better team than we were last year - a smarter team," he said. "We have a quarterback who understands it, our skill is more experienced, our line is improved, we've got running backs and a tight end who've all made plays. But there's no doubt that Tajh Boyd has been the difference. He's just a much better quarterback than he was at this time last year."

Swinney said the Gamecocks will present multiple challenges on both sides of the ball.

"They find ways to win games," he said. "They're big up front offensively, and their quarterback (Connor Shaw) was the difference in the game last year. He's a good scrambler with a great feel for the pocket, and he can make all the throws. And then he makes a lot of plays outside the pocket.

"Their wide-outs have gotten better all year, and both Ace Sanders and Bruce Ellington are electric. They're creative in how they get the ball to them, because what they do best is run with it.

"And their tight end (Justice Cunningham) has made unbelievable plays. He's been a force for them at critical times."

Defensively, Swinney said the Gamecocks are "as good as we've played, as good as we will play, as good as anybody will play."

"(Jadeveon) Clowney is a dynamic player, but one of the reason for his success is all those other guys around him," Swinney said. "Devin Taylor is seven feet tall and has been there forever. I think he grows an inch every year. Their whole front seven is outstanding.

"They want to be a one-safety team, and when you play a one-safety team, you have to win match-ups and make plays."

Swinney said the Tigers will need to "put it altogether and play our best game."

"They are what they are, and we are what we are," Swinney said. "It's all going to come down to execution. You coach guys up to be disciplined and react properly to what they see."

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Comments » 9

zilforreal writes:

Dabo is wrong. If you don't win the ACC and you lose to Carolina the season is not a success. Beating 10 weak teams is good, but can't be considered anything other than beating teams you are supposed to beat. The ACC is pathetic this year; weaker than last year by any definition. I am not convinced that Clemson is a better team this year. Boyd is better; the O line is functional, but only average. The defense in inferior to last year. Dado, don't start making excuses for losing to Carolina again.

TrevorT writes:

in response to zilforreal:

Dabo is wrong. If you don't win the ACC and you lose to Carolina the season is not a success. Beating 10 weak teams is good, but can't be considered anything other than beating teams you are supposed to beat. The ACC is pathetic this year; weaker than last year by any definition. I am not convinced that Clemson is a better team this year. Boyd is better; the O line is functional, but only average. The defense in inferior to last year. Dado, don't start making excuses for losing to Carolina again.

Dabo is wrong? You honestly think you have a better understanding of this team, conference, or for that matter the game in general than Swinney? This man has spent most of his adult life working on the inside of elite college football programs and is now earning millions to lead one. You on the other hand, are living in a fantasy world. Call the man a liar if you like, but to say he's wrong about the team he leads is just dumb. As dumb as calling a 10 win season unsuccessful.

omnipotent1 writes:

in response to TrevorT:

Dabo is wrong? You honestly think you have a better understanding of this team, conference, or for that matter the game in general than Swinney? This man has spent most of his adult life working on the inside of elite college football programs and is now earning millions to lead one. You on the other hand, are living in a fantasy world. Call the man a liar if you like, but to say he's wrong about the team he leads is just dumb. As dumb as calling a 10 win season unsuccessful.

Remember, anybody any age, any intelligence level, and any competence can and do post on here and every other forum.

68Scot writes:

zilforreal has some good points, we don't really know if Clemson has improved this year. They have played one ranked team thus far and lost to them. Ball State has the best record of the teams Clemson has beaten. The defense has given up tons of yardage and points to very weak teams. The combined records of Clemsons opponents is 59-63, it's hard to say if Clemson is better this year based on their competition this year. We'll see Saturday.

Lynx26 writes:

We'll be fine if we contain Shaw and do not turn the ball over. Dabo is not right or wrong.. he just said his statement in an un boldly manner.

Its not the end of the world if we take an L... and its not the national championship if we win. All this means is Dabo can't get over the USC hump.. or he finally did.
Either way we'll finish with 11 or 12 wins and position ourselves for a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RUN NEXT YEAR!!!!!! #TurnUP

CLEMSON 31 - USC 27

TrevorT writes:

I think maybe my point didn't come across clearly. I'm not saying Clemson has nothing left to prove. I understand the weakness of our conference right now and a victory on Saturday will definitely do a lot to legitimize us on the national scene. What gets on my nerves are people who think watching a team on TV for three hours a week makes them more qualified to comment on their progress than the head coach. When Dabo says the team is better, don't you think he's taking into account all the same factors that we are plus many that we never see? He's watching them on every rep in every practice. He's getting their feedback on every film session. He looks them in the eye every day and sees how badly they want to win. If he says the team has improved, I think I'll take his word over anyone posting here.

kellytown writes:

We don't need the negetive's to start are you a CLEMSON FAN or not I am tired of hearing the negatives. We are a better team no question yes we lost to FSU so what they lost to NCST.If anyone here thinks that a 10 win season isn;t good then you should think again, as i have said the SEC isn't as good as the polls show.I agree with Coach Dabo he is the Head coach. We should as fans be appreciative of our coaches and our record let the past go our team is greatly improved under these coaches. Dabo has given up raises for himself to bring in top coordinators to improve our team.This should show how much winniing means to him!!! Go back 4years ago if you want but I will take our path now its far more better we are improving each and every year so don't put down our team even if we lose to the chickens I would rather be a TIGER any day.

zilforreal writes:

Dabo is a salesman. Trevor, if you think Dabo doesn't spin with the best of the politicians, you have not been paying attention.Clemson lost some great players from last years team(some playing lots in the NFL)It doesn't really matter if this years team is better, as long as Dabo says it and the team believes it. It is about confidence and Dabo is trying to build it. I just don't have to buy it. Clemson was not ready last year, probably because of the upcoming ACC championship game. We had a terrible defensive coordinator (who should have been fired after the GaTech debacle in the ACC championship game 3 years ago) and SC played lights out.

TrevorT writes:

in response to zilforreal:

Dabo is a salesman. Trevor, if you think Dabo doesn't spin with the best of the politicians, you have not been paying attention.Clemson lost some great players from last years team(some playing lots in the NFL)It doesn't really matter if this years team is better, as long as Dabo says it and the team believes it. It is about confidence and Dabo is trying to build it. I just don't have to buy it. Clemson was not ready last year, probably because of the upcoming ACC championship game. We had a terrible defensive coordinator (who should have been fired after the GaTech debacle in the ACC championship game 3 years ago) and SC played lights out.

Hey that's fine. If you want to say Dabo is over selling this team, that's your opinion. I don't agree with it, but you are entitled to it. However that's not the same thing as saying the man doesn't know what he's talking about, and that's what I got from your original post. Anyway, I'm sure we can agree that we both want to see some chicken feathers flying in Death Valley this weekend. GO TIGERS!

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