Tigers close the book on Heels

CLEMSON - Head coach Dabo Swinney talks about Saturday's game against North Carolina and updates the status of Tony Steward.


The following is an edited transcript of Thursday night's interview with Swinney.

How would you characterize this Saturday's game?
Swinney: A tough, hard fought game. They're a complete team. They're capable of beating you offensively, defensively and in the kicking game, so are we. We're capable of beating you in all three of those phases. I think it's going to be a good matchup.

At this point, it's really just about Clemson. We've got to take care of our business, prepare. We've got less than 48 hours before we kick this thing off. I told them, right now, we've got to start that preparation process, right now, mentally, get yourself ready to go play the best game of the year, because that's what it's going to take.

Who knows how the game will go? We've just got to take care of the ball and try to do the things we've done all year.

UNC is probably thinking, we've got to control the clock?
Swinney: That's what they do. They're built to be a ball control type team. Good running game, good play-action, play good defense, win in the kicking game and you look up and they beat you, 24-21, or something. That's kind of how they're built.

We've just got to do what we do. We've got to stop their running game and try to make them do things that they don't really want to do, make that quarterback have to beat us, throw the ball more than they want to, as opposed to whenever they want to. That's a big difference in the game. No big secret. They've got a good running back. We've got to stop them. If we can't stop the running back, it'll be a tough night for us, defensively.

On the other side, we've got to take care of the ball, execute, be patient. They're a tough team to run the football on. We can't just abandon that. We've got to be patient and take advantage of the opportunities as they present them self.

You've said you're a traditionalist in college football. Are you still taking that stance?
Swinney: I have always said I would be in favor for the system that we have, making the bowls be done by January 2, and having one more game. That, to me, really gives you the best of both worlds. You're not usually arguing about eight teams. It's usually pretty obvious -- three or four teams, when it gets to the end that maybe have a case...I've been for that and would be for that. As far as just doing away with the bowl system and all that, I'd be against that.

Next in line after Tig Willard?
Swinney: We would probably, right now after Tig, would probably move Corico [Hawkins] or Quandon [Christian]. We've got Justin [Parker], who gives us some more options at SAM. Justin would have a hard-time moving to WILL, because he really hasn't repped that. Quandon has a little better understanding of the big picture, and could easily play over there. Same thing with Corico. Corico could go play it, no problem. Daniel Andrews is a guy that knows every position, can get us through a game as well.

And Justin is healthy enough to play?
Swinney: He's good. Everybody is ready. I was worried about him during the early part of the week. He practiced yesterday and today, so he's going to be good to go.

Mike Bellamy...
Swinney: He's had a great week of practice.

Is he eligible to play all four quarters?
Swinney: He's eligible to play all four quarters to play all four quarters, if we so chose to play him. Absolutely. No issues, but we've still got less than 48 hours to go. As we stand right now, he is ready to go.

To read more from Thursday night, visit the CUTigers.com premium message board The Valley:


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