Ten years later

CLEMSON - Dabo Swinney and Co. are "full speed ahead" in their preparation for the game that is now seven days away.

Finally, we are a week from the renewal of the rivalry between Clemson and Georgia. It's been a long time coming.

But most Clemson fans are like Swinney when it comes to reminiscing about the last time the Tigers and Bulldogs got together on the gridiron. He would just assume foget his first game as an assistant at Clemson.

On Aug. 30, 2003, Georgia beat Clemson, 30-0.

"I tried to forget that. Thanks for reminding me. I just about had filed that away and it was gone, but you reminded me," Swinney joked, when asked about his memory of the game. "[David] Pollack was awesome. I think they hit a big post on Justin Miller early in the game. No. 82, I think, was the guys' number.

"Oh, my goodness, that was not how I wanted to start off my Clemson career. I was thinking, ‘What have I gotten myself into?' They were a really good football team. We were just pretty average."

Well, now, both could be better than good. Swinney went so far as to call this Georgia team "great."

"There's a reason why a lot of people are picking them to win the national championship," he said. "They've got a great quarterback, as good of backs that we're going to see, maybe as long as I'm going to be at Clemson. Those guys are really, really good players. Gurley gets all the talk, but Marshall is outstanding."

Swinney didn't stop there.

"They've got outstanding skill players, a veteran offensive line," he said. "Defensively, they've got some unknowns for us. They've got good players. They've got a lot of guys that have started a bunch of games. We'll have a big challenge ahead of us."

When sizing up the Dawgs' offense, Swinney doesn't have to look too far back to cite an example why they're so explosive.

"Alabama was the No. 1 defense in the country last year. Y'all watched that game," he said to the assembled media. "Georgia kind of had their way. It was toe-to-toe all night."

For a Clemson defense that finished 63rd in the country a season ago, things could get pretty scary.

"It doesn't matter who you are, who you put out there on defense. This is a huge, huge challenge for our football team, both offensively and defensively," Swinney said.


"They're where they are, deservedly so," Swinney said. "We've got to make sure we've got our act together and everybody is ready to play at a high level."

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