The 28 active Clemson seniors and the rest of the Tigers are preparing for the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl on Monday night at 5:30 pm against 24th ranked Oklahoma.
This year’s seniors already have a record 41 wins on their resume, including eight
over top 25 teams. A win over No. 24 Oklahoma would give the Tigers a record tying
nine top 25 wins.
“This is the last practice for the seniors,” Head Coach Dabo Swinney told the team
after practice. “This is the last time (Monday’s game) you will wear the Paw. I
promise you as the years go on you will appreciate the opportunity you had more and
more. It will become more special as the years go on.”
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney was asked after practice by the media to compare
Oklahoma to an ACC team he had faced this year. “Oklahoma is probably most like
Florida State,” said Swinney. “They have a very experience offensive line and they
like to run the ball. Florida State is much like that in their approach. They also
have some great receivers. I look at Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma’s top wideout) and
I think of Rashad Greene at Florida State.
“Oklahoma was the No. 1 team in the nation back in August because they had a lot of
players returning from a team that beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. They had some
injuries and had some tough breaks in some close game, but they will be at full
strength for this game. They get their quarterback (Trevor Knight) back along with
“Oklahoma has a great running back in Samaje Perine who set the world record for
rushing yards in a game. He is a tough back who is difficult to tackle. He is a
load, a great player, but they will play three outstanding backs who can do a lot of
damage. We are going to have to tackle very well.”
Swinney was asked about coaching his first game in four years without Chad Morris as
offensive coordinator. “We have always had a collaborative effort when it comes to
calling the plays. I am confident in Tony (Elliott) and Jeff (Scott). The
positive of Chad leaving when he did is that we have had the bowl season this year
to get us prepared for next year. We will be a lot further ahead when we start
spring practice. And we already have Brandon Streeter involved as the quarterbacks
Swinney said after practice that he did not expect tight end Jordan Leggett to play.
Leggett suffered a knee injury during bowl practice at Clemson. “Thank goodness we
moved Rod Byers from the defensive line to tight end during the middle of the
season. We will need on Monday.” Graduate and co-captain Sam Cooper, who began
the year with a broken leg suffered in warmups for the season opener against
Georgia, will start at tight end against Oklahoma.
Swinney was asked after practice what players had sent in paper work for a draft
evaluation by the NFL. He said no one had asked for an evaluation.
*The marquee matchup of the Russell Athletic Bowl on paper looks to be Clemson’s
defense against Oklahoma’s offense. That is particularly the case in terms of
rushing. Oklahoma averages 268.6 yards per game on the ground, eighth best in the
nation. Clemson allows just 97.7 yards per game on the ground, seventh best in the
nation. In terms of scoring, Oklahoma averages 38.9 points per game, 10th in the
nation, while Clemson allows just 17.6 points per game, seventh best scoring defense
*The Clemson vs. Oklahoma matchup will feature two head coaches who have been with
their respective programs as head coach for at least seven seasons. Dabo Swinney
has been in charge of the Clemson program since October of 2008 and Bob Stoops has
been head coach at Oklahoma since 1999.
The Clemson vs. Oklahoma contest is one of two bowl games with two coaches who have
been with their teams at least since 2008. The only other game that has a matchup
of coaches who have been with their respective teams since at least 2008 is the
Michigan State (Mark Dantonio) vs. Baylor (Art Biles) Cotton Bowl.
*The senior classes for Clemson and Oklahoma have a combined 80 victories over the
last four years, 41 by Clemson and 39 by Oklahoma. Clemson’s 41-11 record is tied
for the seventh most wins among FBS teams the last four years and Oklahoma’s 39-12
record is tied for the 12th most wins.
*One of the visitors to practice on Saturday as former Clemson quarterback Will
Proctor. The native of Orlando, Florida was Clemson’s starting quarterback for the
2006 season as a senior, his only year as the starter. Clemson averaged 6.5 yards
per play that season, still the Clemson single season record for yards per play.
Tigers hold final bowl practice
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