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November 25, 2014

Dabo Swinney

COACH SWINNEY:  Happy Thanksgiving to everybody this week.  Hope everybody has a great week.  Hard to believe our season is coming to an end.  It really has gone fast.  This is really an honor to be able to be a part of this rivalry, this series.  It really is something special.  We're looking forward to hopefully playing our best game of the year against these guys.
They've got a really good team.  They've had four really tough losses that easily could have gone the other way.  Offensively they have had a great year, very balanced in what they do.  Bunch of veterans up front.  They got a stable full of backs that can all play.  Quarterback has played very well for them.  Receivers.  Bunch of touchdown passes, rushing.  The balance that they have creates problems for you.
Defensively they've grown up throughout the year.  They are young.  They only start two or three seniors on the entire defense.  They've played much better as of late.  So this is one of those games where your special teams can really be a factor for you.  They've got excellent skill.  So do we.  One of those games we've got to do the things that give us a chance to win.
But we're excited about being here at home, doing everything we can to try to have a great finish.  Our seniors' last game.  I know these guys certainly want to try to go out with a win.  I'd love to see that for them.
With that I'll take questions.

Q.  How was Deshaun yesterday at practice?  10 years ago, you were an assistant when that brawl broke out in this game.  Nothing like that since.  What do you remember from that time 10 years ago?
COACH SWINNEY:  That was bad.  Bad for everybody.  Bad for both of these universities.  Bad for college football.  Just not any room in the game for that kind of stuff.
I remember going onto the field, saying to myself, I cannot believe this is happening, literally.  I also remember kind of grabbing a guy, trying to separate a couple guys.  I kind of looked to my left, Coach Holtz is on the ground, around some guy's legs.  I'm thinking this guy is fixing to get killed.  It was total chaos, pandemonium.  We couldn't get it under control.  It just escalated all the way down the field.  Just a terrible scene.
Obviously this is a really big rivalry.  Fans don't like each other, all that kind of stuff.  But I think that there has always been respect in this deal.
Since then, nothing has happened.  You can credit both schools for that, for good sportsmanship, South Carolina and Clemson, that there hasn't been anything like that and doesn't ever need to be again.
I hate that I was a part of that.  That's not something that anybody that was there was proud of.
As far as Deshaun, he was in a green jersey last night, was able to do the things we needed him to do last night.  We're going to ramp it up more today.  Today will be a much more telling day.  But still kind of where we are right now.

Q.  A lot was expected of Vic Beasley this year.  He certainly has received all kinds of double and maybe triple teams and everything.  How do you think he's performed with all that attention on him, both from offensive lines trying to stop him and from attention that goes with being a player of his caliber?
COACH SWINNEY:  Oh, he's handled it great.  He's just continued to be Vic.  Vic is a very humble guy.  He's got his feet on the ground.  He's just a good teammate.  He's a quiet teammate.  But he plays loud, does his job.
We have seen it all this year as far as schematic stuff to defend against Vic.  He has still made a bunch of plays.  Obviously leads us in sacks, got a bunch of tackles for loss.  He's really impacted the run game much more this year than he's done in the past.
That was one of the things he wanted to come back before, he wanted to become a more complete job.
We named a finalist for the Lombardi.  Got two more games with him.  Hopefully he'll play his best two games in his last two.

Q.  Most basic terms, what makes him so good?
COACH SWINNEY:  Speed, speed, change of direction.  He's long.  He's powerful.  He's like Sammy Watkins playing at defensive end as far as his ability to explode, redirect.
The thing that makes him special, because it's not like he's 260 or anything like that, he's not a big guy from a weight standpoint, but he's so strong.  He really plays a lot bigger than he is.  So he can take that speed and quickly turn it into power.
If you try to overset things, he can go right at you.  His length allows him to keep people off of him.  And he's a smart player.  Very, very smart.  Understands the game.
In a nutshell, it's his speed and quickness that makes him special.

Q.  When you look at South Carolina's offense on film, do they pose any different kind of challenges than last year?
COACH SWINNEY:  Not really.  They do what they do.  They're good at it.  They do a great job of, like I said earlier, creating balance.  They're 179, 80 yards a game in rushing, 281 yards a game in passing.  25 passing touchdowns, 21 rushing touchdowns.  They've done a great job from a balance standpoint.
They're just a veteran group, a very experienced group.  They know what they're doing over there.  They play within their scheme.  They do a good job of getting your coverages.  They do a lot of 'check with me' at the line of scrimmage.  They get them in the best call versus what you're trying to do.
They have really four backs that can all play.  All those guys.  Dylan Thompson is a very smart, heady player that has good experience.  Played well for them.  They have two tight ends that are threats and can hurt you.  They throw the verticals, they throw the smash, the bait concepts.  They run a good bit of run zone read with the wildcat.  They've involved Baker in a lot of different ways.  He threw a touchdown pass last week.
They just do an excellent job executing their system.  They've got a bunch of starters back up front that have done a nice job for them.

Q.  What do you have to do better against them than you've done in recent years?
COACH SWINNEY:  In a nutshell, we've got to do the things that give us a chance to win, which we haven't done, and that starts with taking care of the football.  It's that simple.  We obviously lost five games against them here in a row.  We've had 15 turnovers in those five games to their three.  They've scored 62 points to our zero off of turnovers.
It's just hard to win against good people.  South Carolina has been one of the best teams in the country the last few years.
We've got to first of all give ourselves a chance by taking care of the ball.  We had two miscues in special teams last year.  One of them was kind of a fluky deal, ball comes down and hits Martavis.  The other we had a fumble, good punt return, get the ball knocked out right there at the end.  Those are huge because it costs you possessions.  We've not been able to possess the football against these guys really well.
We have to be really good on third down.  Defensively last year we weren't good in the first half, but did a good job in the second half from a third down standpoint.  You can look at the time of possession, the play counts.  Those are things that we have to change if we're going to win this ballgame.
Overall the biggest thing is we've got to take care of the ball.  We can't give them the ball and give them field position.  They're too good offensively.  They're going to score.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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