CLEMSON - Two bowl practices are in the books, but the Tigers are just scratching surface on the Ohio State gameplan.
"Right now we haven't got many first downs and many stops," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "We're just kind of getting into this thing. Maybe by the end of the week we'll get them to punt a few times and maybe we'll score once or twice. We've got a ways to go."
Two players particularly on his mind are junior quarterback Braxton Miller and senior running back Carlos Hyde, who lead the nation's No. 3 rushing offense (317.5 YPG) and No. 7 total offense (518.5).
"That quarterback that's rushed for over 1,000, he can fly," said Swinney. "He's a running back playing quarterback with a legit arm. I should say he's a quarterback that legitimately runs like a running back. He can throw the ball. Then the big ole running back they have. They stick to what they do – and why wouldn't they? That wins games for them.
Shuey, Tigers ready to get bowl prep going
"Just the physicality and their style of the play – the multiplicity of how they run the football with the back and quarterback, that's a big challenge. We're going to have a great plan."
Hyde was suspended for the Buckeyes' first three games...and he still totaled 1,408 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.
In the last eight contests, the Naples, Fla. native averaged 160 yards and almost two touchdowns a game (1.75).
Miller has hit his stride on the ground in the last four games, rushing for 623 yards and eight of his 10 touchdowns down the stretch in Big Ten play.
Ohio State's playmakers just jump off the tape.
"How quick their running backs are, how fast their quarterback is and he's also a great passer – it's definitely going to be a challenge," Clemson linebacker Spencer Shuey said. "They have some big offensive lineman – All-Americans and all that. It will be an extremely physical game and tough."
Eligibility issues still in play for Tigers
Clemson's head coach says he's feeling good about the Tigers academically going into the bowl season, but you just never know.
"There's all kinds of rules, I don't try to figure all of that stuff out," Swinney said. "They'll let me know. Whoever's ready to go, we go, and whoever's not, they'll stay home."
Last year, Clemson had to sit the nation's leader in yards per reception, Martavis Bryant, and reserve o-lineman Shaq Anthony for the Chick-fil-A Bowl. For Bryant, the word came down almost two weeks into December (the 12th), while Anthony wasn't suspended until the week of the game.
"Everybody was here (Saturday)," Swinney said. "The eligibility stuff we won't know (yet). I wish I knew now so we don't practice guys that aren't going on the trip. We just don't know.
"Everybody has three or four guys that are down-to-the-wire academically. Until they certify that over to us from Vickery (Hall), we got to assume everything's good."