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Swinney previews Miami, dishes on ‘the best part of our team right now’

Katie Bradham, Senior Photographer

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney reads his play sheet during the Tigers’ game vs. Louisville in Memorial Stadium on Nov. 12, 2022. 


With just two games left before the ACC Championship game, head coach Dabo Swinney and the Tigers are dead set on finishing the regular season on a strong note, and it all starts with taking down Miami on Saturday. 
After suffering, in Swinney’s words, “an ass-kicking” to Notre Dame two weeks ago, Clemson bounced back last week, defeating Louisville 31-16 at a critical point of the season.
Swinney saw the response he needed against the Cardinals. But now it’s about building on that performance vs. the Hurricanes.
“It’s all about finishing. That’s what everybody remembers,” Swinney said. “That’s what they say. They remember November. It’s all about how you finish. You go lose these next two games, and everyone forgets you were 9-1 quickly.”
Slated to kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET, the game between the Tigers (9-1) and the Hurricanes (5-5) will feature a Clemson team with illustrious postseason aspirations and a Miami team that has struggled at times this year but is coming off a 21-point victory over Georgia Tech last week.
While Miami hasn’t lived up to the expectations many had for the program entering the season, Swinney isn’t taking the Hurricanes lightly.
“My only concern is Saturday, and it only takes one good day,” Swinney said of the Hurricanes. “These guys are capable of lining up and playing with anybody on any given day.”
Swinney added that the Hurricanes are a difficult team to prepare for with “a lot of unknowns,” especially at the quarterback position, as they have run out three different starting quarterbacks this year, all of which have dual-threat abilities. 
Beyond that, Miami has one of the more talented rosters in the ACC, with multiple former four and five-star recruits
“They got some dudes now,” Swinney said. “They can get off the bus with anybody. I promise you. They are long, they can run, they’re physical and an incredibly athletic group.”
On offense, Miami is 10th in the ACC in scoring with 25.7 points per game. The Tigers’ defense, on the other hand, is only giving up 21.0 points per game, good for fifth in the ACC.
When Clemson’s offense takes the field, Swinney will rely on Clemson’s running backs, who accounted for 201 of the Tigers’ 439 total yards last week. 
Between Will Shipley and Phil Mafah, the Tigers have a deep running back room. Add in the return of Kobe Pace, who Swinney said will “be ready to play” this week, and Clemson will have three capable playmakers in the backfield against the Hurricanes.
“Those backs are prepared every week. They’re the best part of our team right now, I think,” Swinney said. “You just know what you’re going to get week in and week out — toughness, physicality, relentless effort. It’s a good situation for us.”
Shipley, who leads Clemson in rushing yards and touchdowns with 899 and 12, respectively, has been a leader for the offense. 
Still, the Hurricanes will present challenges for the Tigers, as they are only allowing 125.6 rushing yards per game. 
“On the defensive side, this is a fast, athletic group. When you think of Miami, that’s kind of what you think of,” Swinney added.
Despite the success the Tigers have had thus far, Swinney is hoping his team’s best play is in front of them, starting with defeating the Hurricanes.
“You want to be your best at this time of the year,” Swinney said. “It’s hard to do that. Most teams grow weary. The great ones grow stronger. So, we just want to get stronger. We want to get hot and play our best football.”

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