Thursday Practice Report

CLEMSON — Sometimes numbers do lie. When looking at the Virginia Cavaliers it appears on paper that they cannot run the football and have trouble stopping the opposition. In more cases than not, those kinds of scenarios generally spell trouble for a football team.

Though those numbers are somewhat correct when talking about Virginia, when actually watching the Cavaliers play, they are definitely deceptive. Those are the two main issues the Clemson Tigers will be facing as they get set to travel to Charlottesville, Va., for a noon kickoff on Saturday.

"When the big play is available, you have to make it and you have to make people miss in space and create the big play," Clemson interim head coach Dabo Swinney said after Thursday's practice. "It is not necessarily where you just looked, and they are giving you a great opportunity with a matchup or something.

"There will be some moments in the game, but it will be more of a situation where we have to execute down the field."

As for running the football against the Cavaliers, Clemson (5-5, 3-4 ACC) will more than likely have to be patient and wait for things to open up. Virginia, who is giving up 152.3 yards a game on the ground, tries to tie things up at the line of scrimmage and will sit in the gaps.

"We have to get those guys moving and create some running lanes," Swinney said. "You have a certain style of run against these guys. They are tough to run inside on. They are similar to Boston College in that regard, but not as big. It is tough to run inside."

What also makes Virginia's defense tough is the fact it is more of a coverage team with a philosophy that teams cannot or will not be patient enough to put long drives together.

"There will be a couple of three-and-outs, but we have to be patient and try to run the ball and create everything else off of it." Swinney said. "They are not a big play defense. With C.J. Spiller anything can happen. Boston College is not a big-play defense either, but we had a few on them."

COLD DAY AHEAD: The forecast is calling for temperatures to in the upper 30s by kickoff and only reaching the low 40s by game's end Saturday. Swinney says that should not be problem, however, considering the Tigers have practiced in cold temperatures all week. Thursday was the warmest day this week with temperatures reaching the high 50s at practice time.

"We have had a great week of practice and it has been freezing," the Clemson coach said. "(Thursday) is beach weather compared to what we have had this week and it has been cold. They have had no problem throwing and catching the ball.

"Cullen is out here with sleeves cut off, it hasn't been a factor at all."

QUICK START: The Tigers have outscored their opponents 62-39 in the first quarter this season, while Virginia has given up 76 first quarter points and has been outscored by 36 points. It's safe to say Clemson needs to get off to a good start Saturday.

"You would like too," Swinney said. "You would like to jump on them quick and have some success early. But you have to play four quarters no matter what happens, even if they score quickly or we score quickly. "We have to put it all together and keep on playing. Hopefully we will get off to another fast start like we have had, if not, we will keep on playing." By the way, the Cavaliers (5-5, 3-3) have been outscored by 24 points in the third quarter, while Clemson has a 37-point third quarter edge on its opposition.

INJURIES: Defensive tackle Dorell Scott is listed as very probable for Clemson, which means he has an 87.5 percent chance of playing according to Clemson Sports Information Director Tim Bourret. Swinney said left guard David Smith is available to play if the Tigers need him. Top Stories