Swinney on Miami, Marcus Tate, Spencer Rattler, Gamecocks

CLEMSON — Clemson head coach Sunday night Dabo Swinney addressed members of the media to continue talking about his team’s victory over Miami on Saturday and, of course, the week ahead ahead of Saturday’s showdown with rival South Carolina in Death Valley.

The Tigers (10-1, 8-0), who opened Sunday as a 14-point favorite over the Gamecocks (7-4, 4-4), are aiming for their eighth consecutive win in the series.

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The following is an abridged transcript of Sunday’s conference call.

OPENING STATEMENTS: “Just a good game from our guys. I’m proud of our guys. Offensively, another quick start. Back-to-back games where we had good balance. We had some big drops but did better with penalties. We just controlled the game. We were 14 out of 19 on third downs. We scored 100 percent in the red zone. I thought DJ did a great job as did Mitchell coming in. Outside of the third quarter where we had a revenue party, we were very solid.Lots of good stuff in the game.

“Defensively we were dominant. 98 total yards and only eight at the half and 40 of those yards came on one play. We won the line of scrimmage. Those are back-to-back games where we influenced the quarterback. We got more created takeaways. We were cleaner in terms of penalties. We had a few critical fouls and some busts that we had to clean up. I just loved the team’s effort against a team that had a big win. A nice evening. A good tape to grade.

“We need to turn our attention to this game now. Thanksgiving changes our routine a bit. We’re facing a big challenge.”

Q: What did you see on the coverage?

SWINNEY: “It was on Mukuba. He read the wrong signal. We got lucky there. Ruke had a one-on-one block with the guard and beat him. Just a missed signal.”

Q: The way South Carolina blew out Tennessee last night will cause some intrigue this week. As for your players and how they view the game?

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SWINNEY: “It doesn’t matter what your records are or where you come from. This is a game where you throw all those things away. It’s all about this game. It’s not about what you did last year or the rest of this year years. It’s about how you play in these four quarters. College football, as you saw yesterday, is unpredictable. It’s hard to win. This is the most important game of the year and a season in itself. It’s a goal in itself. It’s a fun match to be a part of. I’ve been part of a lot of rivalry matches. It’s a fun week to prepare and a match where both teams will do everything they can to find a way to win.”

Q: More clarity about Marcus Tate?

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SWINNEY: “He will be out. We have good news and bad news. His ACL is good, but there is a ligament or a tendon… that’s where he got hurt. He will need surgery to get it fixed. It’s coming good with him. The bad news is that he is out for us. I’m happy for him because he was able to play 11 games and he is still a young player who has grown a lot this year. He has a lot of confidence and played so much faster and stronger than last year. He can also play tackle for us. It’s a shame his season is so short, but it’s a blessing that he’s had the kind of year he had.”

Q: How did you rate Mitchell Mayes yesterday? And does it change anything with Collin Sadler?

SWINNEY“Mitchell has done well. He’s actually started back-to-back games and we’ve had over 400 yards in each of the last two games. He’s done well. I’m glad he’s had that kind of experience . He had to play a lot of snaps. Very good for him. I’m glad we were able to get those two in late as well. As for Sadler, we’re definitely going to play him as we need to, but we’re we’re going to try to hold him if we can. We’ve got one game left for him.”

Q: The timetable for Tate’s return?

SWINNEY“He’ll be back for spring training, but he’ll probably just be in a green jersey and do individual things. I don’t think he’ll scrimmage or go full speed in the spring.”

Q: What do you think of the South Carolina offensive explosion last night? Were you able to view some of it?

SWINNEY: “I got to watch a good chunk of it last night when I got home. It’s a tough place to go to play. Their quarterback was great. Momentum is a powerful thing. They played a complete game in all phases. Tennessee, it wasn’t their night. You have to give South Carolina all the credit for that. Their quarterback was just outstanding. Lots of big plays.”

Q: Your thoughts on Jeremiah Trotter last night? The PBU games in particular?

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SWINNEY: “He read it (the PBU) but went a bit flat. He did a great job recovering that and defending it. He’s a really good player, just like we hoped he would be. He plays with a lot of confidence and starts playing to become a leader for us.”

Q: You mentioned Spencer Rattler. What stands out about him and not just last night, but from other movies you’ve seen of his this year?

SWINNEY: “I watched him when he was in Oklahoma. He was a very recruited guy. He pitches well in motion. He’s just a really good football player. That’s why he was the starter in Oklahoma and recruited as high as he was. Anything that you like about a quarterback, he has. He has a great arm and is a competitor.”

Q: Is Beaux coming back this week?

SWINNEY: “We’re hopeful. It’s still day-to-day. He was close to it last week.”

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