There may not be a closer relationship among ACC football coaches than between Dabo Swinney and UNC’s Mack Brown. During his Tuesday press conference, Swinney expressed plenty of admiration for the Tarheels’ boss. A relationship that Swinney says goes back to Brown’s days at Texas.
“I just thought he was always a class guy. When I got this job (at Clemson), I reached out to a lot of coaches (for help),” Swinney explained. Mack Brown “was the only one that would let me come see him. I guess they (other coaches) thought Clemson might turn out to be good or something.”
Swinney and Brown will put their friendship on hold for about three hours on Saturday as Clemson entertains UNC at 3:30pm on “Senior Day” for the Tigers. Clemson, which became bowl-eligible last week with its win over Georgia Tech, will be looking for its first three-game winning streak of the season. Meanwhile, the Tarheels are 8-2 on the season after a 47-45 double-overtime victory against Duke this past Saturday night. UNC has not won at Clemson since 2001, when a Julius Peppers-led defense defeated Tommy Bowden’s then-No. 13 Tigers 38-3. North Carolina has only visited the Upstate four other times since that win in ’01.
Key Notes from Swinney:
- Began his presser congratulating both Clemson soccer teams. The men won the ACC tournament championship and will open the NCAA tournament at home on Sunday. Meanwhile, the women shut out Radford 2-0 last Friday in their opening match of the NCAA tournament and will host Columbia this Friday at 5:30pm in the second round.
- Tyler Venables has been cleared and “is back.” He was named scout team player of the week for this past week. “He’s worked really, really hard to get back. We’ll have him available and see how it goes.”
- Bragged on the senior class, which will play its final home game this Saturday. “It’s a special time, and we try and do everything to honor them. Their parents, too. It’s a new season of life for the parents.”
- He wants to see his team do a better job against UNC on third downs this year. Said the score in last year’s ACC title game reflected how well the Tigers played inside the red zone and how they took advantage of turnovers.
- Jokes that his kindness in letting other coaches come visit Clemson has its limitations. “‘I’m not going to let Beamer come down here and hang out. It is what it is.” Illustrates that Pepsi and Coke or Nike and Addidas don’t get together to compare notes.