Hard-nosed approach

CLEMSON - Head coach Dabo Swinney recaps the last several days of practice and looks ahead to Chick-fil-A Bowl opponent LSU.

How have the last few days been?
Swinney: Just steady progress -- we've spent a lot of time working on Clemson, the first part of this thing, really started to transition, today, and the next two days, it'll pretty much be all Clemson versus LSU. Really trying to get dialed in on what we want to do, try to button up the game plans as if we were going to play on Saturday. We don't want to spend a lot of time game planning when we get to the bowl site. You really want to be locked in on what you want to do, and spend that week just getting precision down, sharpening up your execution and just studying the plan. That's kind of where we are. Guys have responded well, practiced hard. We put them in some adverse situations. They persevered pretty good.

A couple of guys have said they've been really physical practices.
Swinney: We've tried to create what they're going to see in this game. Just like when you're getting ready to play a triple-option team, you've got to try to present what you're going to see, from week to week, the best that you can. This team we're playing, their style of play is, by far, the most physical of any team we've seen in quite a while. We try to do the very best we can to prepare our guys for that. Look forward to it.

Is it a combination of their talent, personnel, execution, the consistency?
Swinney: All of that. They've got a system that's been in place for eight years that, obviously, they recruit to. They're a team that's located in a state where they really just kind of select who they want. That allows them to have great depth. They'll play four or five running backs and they're all 220, 230. And they're all fast. They were all great players in high school. They're huge up front. Their quarterback doesn't get the credit that he deserves for throwing the football. He can throw the football. It's just more of a style of play that they're committed to, but he can throw the ball. The latter part of the season, they've thrown a little bit more. They threw for 300 yards on Alabama. They're certainly very capable in all aspects, very talented outside. It's a combination of great defense, really believing in their system, recruiting to their system, developing their players, depth and good coaching. It's a combination of all of that.

They're as good a team as there is in the country, at what they do. We're going to have to play well. It's a great opportunity for us. It's a great measuring opportunity for where we want to be. That's where we want our program. We want to get to where you've got eight years of sustained success, and competing for your conference championship, competing for the national championship, recruiting at a high level, developing the players.

With finals over, do you have any players who won't be eligible, because of academics?
Swinney: I probably won't know that until…I'll know by Friday.

Do you feel good, though?
Swinney: I do. You never really know. There may be a guy or two, I don't know. There were a couple of guys on the borderline going in. I don't anticipate any of our starters not being able to go. You just never know until you get the results back.

Injury-wise, we're in pretty good shape. [Bashaud] Breeland is out. He's just not going to be able to go. I think they're going to try to go in and do a little surgery on him, clean him up, tomorrow, I believe. Hopefully, we can get him well. Just tried to nurse it back, but it wasn't coming like you wanted it to. Other than that, we're in pretty good shape. David Beasley rolled his ankle yesterday, but he practiced today. He should be fine in another day or so.

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