In Dabo's Words: 'I like the guys I've got, but they're going to have to bring their A game'

On Clemson's OL: 'We're going to have to play as good as we've played all year. Their whole entire front is NFL guys. I mean, all of them'

Clemson right guard Tyler Shatley blocks for quarterback Tajh Boyd during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson right guard Tyler Shatley blocks for quarterback Tajh Boyd during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

In Dabo's Words:

"On Clemson's challenge against South Carolina: "We're going to have to play at a high level. They're defensively as good as anybody we've seen or are going to see, and offensively they've adjusted well without (Marcus) Lattimore and have done a good job of getting the ball in their playmakers' hands. They've got guys at receiver, tight end, and then obviously their backs, Kenny Miles has been around a while and has made some plays, and their quarterback is outstanding, and they're very good in the return game. Ace Sanders is as dangerous a guy as there is out there in the country, so it's just a good football team and it will take a complete effort on our part to have a chance to win."

On Clemson's offensive line taking on South Carolina's defensive front: "We're going to have to play as good as we've played all year. Their whole entire front is NFL guys. I mean, all of them. And some of the backups. (Jadeveon) Clowney would be probably a top five pick this year if he could come out. Devin Taylor is an outstanding player, Quarles, Jerideau, they're all good players, they rotate guys in there. They're just very physical, and they get pressure with just their four man front, and that allows them to do some other things on the back end from a cover standpoint and allows them to play some man coverage and disrupt timing and things like that.

"But this is as good a group as there is out there in the country anywhere, there's no doubt about it. We're a bunch of young bucks over there, got one senior, but these guys have played well throughout the year, and I'm confident with them. I like the guys I've got, but they're going to have to bring their "A" game."

On Clemson's keys to victory: 'We've got to protect our quarterback and be able to establish the run game, and we didn't do that last year. But to me, the biggest thing to me is turnover margin. We've obviously lost the last three years in this ballgame, and we've lost the turnover margin, too. You've got to give yourself a chance, and this is not a team that you want to play from behind against. Prt of that, again, is just making some of the plays that are there when they present themselves.

"But winning that turnover margin is to me the critical thing.

We've got to do a great job in that area in taking care of the football, creating some turnovers defensively for us. But there's a lot of things.

'"This is the type of ballgame - any time you get two top teams in the country that play each other, the margin for error is not very big. It's three or four or five plays, so you've got to play every play like it's the play. And it could be, you know, it could be something on special teams. I mean, you just never know. But that's what makes it exciting and challenging.'

On the ACC-SEC implications of the game: "No. We're just really just thinking about Clemson. That's really been our focus all year, and it shouldn't be any different. It's not about South Carolina, it's not about anything outside of Clemson. It's about Clemson, how we prepare, how we play, our execution, our effort, our mentality. And that's just the way it's been for us all year. Hey, every week it's been the biggest game of the year, and let's prepare great and nothing changes. The only thing different with this one is this is the last game of the season, and it's your in state rival. So there's a little bit more attention than maybe any of the other games. But our mentality is exactly the same. We've just got to focus on ourselves and have great preparation and just put a great effort on display Saturday night.'

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