Tuesday was Dabo Swinney’s birthday. For his birthday, Clemson’s head coach had the pleasure of speaking at his weekly press conference.
Swinney touched on how intense the rivalry is, but the preparation for the game remains the same. Swinney prepares his players the same no matter what week it is or who they are playing.
The No. 2 Tigers will face the unranked Gamecocks this Saturday in Death Valley at 7 p.m.
Swinney on preparing for South Carolina
“For us, every game is the biggest game of the year. We create that mindset every week all year. Our preparation doesn’t change whether we’re playing Furman to open the season, or South Carolina to end the season. Our preparation doesn’t change. That’s the biggest thing that you create continuity, and believe in what you do. We don’t say ‘alright we’ve got to practice longer this week.’ To me that sends the wrong message. You put your best in every week.”
Swinney compares Clemson/Carolina to Auburn/Alabama
“The similarities between the two rivalries have no differences to me. I think our states are similar. There are no pro sports. It’s high school football. It’s college football. People are passionate about it. The demographics are similar. You’ve got to be one or the other. It’s what people talk about all the time in some form or fashion. I think from a passion standpoint, an intensity that consumes this state. It carries over into the off-season. I think there is nothing better than these two rivalries that I’ve been a part of. The biggest difference is we are not in the same conference.”
Swinney on what is the key to playing well in a rivalry game
“You’ve got to play well. If you go back, I think we had 15 turnovers to their three (during the five-game losing streak), and they were really good. It’s not like they were a terrible team. I thought two of those years that they were just flat out better than us. We might have had a chance, but like I said we 15 turnovers to three in that five game deal. Coach (Steve) Spurrier called me after one and said ‘I don’t know why ya’ll just turn that ball over every time you play us.’ I was like heck I don’t know either.”
Swinney on being in contact with Steve Spurrier
“He called me a couple weeks ago after the Boston game. He congratulated me and left me a nice message. I’m usually around him in December and January time. We will cut up and have some fun. We were at a couple events last year. He messed up and let me have the mic last. He had it first twice. We go back and forth. I’m glad Coach Spurrier is back in coaching. I’m excited about this new league.”
Swinney on the big picture of winning and losing South Carolina game
“You’ve got to keep playing. You can’t allow this game to define your program. Even though the fans want to do that. You have to look at the totality of your season. Yeah you’re going to live with it, but are you making improvement in those type of things. For me, that’s what I try and stay focused on. A lot of times people didn’t want to hear that, but hey we just went 11-2. We lost the game. We aren’t happy about that, but what about the progress we are making as a program. If we continue to do these things, we’ll get back and make this game more competitive.”