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The area Clemson will have to be ‘really schooled up on’ against Notre Dame

Dabo Swinney said last week that he is further ahead with his bowl prep than ever before as Clemson coaches have spent lots of time on airplanes watching film while out on the road recruiting since the ACC title game was held on Dec. 1.

That is good news for the Tigers as they prepare to face their toughest task of the season against Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl.

The Irish have a complex defensive scheme, according to Swinney. And it will be a big challenge for Trevor Lawrence and the rest of the Clemson offense to face off against.

“They do a good job post snap. I think that’s where we’ve got to really do a good job with our preparation,” Swinney said. “They give you one thing pre-snap, and post-snap is when all the magic happens. So they do a nice job with some of their disguises.”

Clemson’s coaching staff is currently going through the process of trying to get the Tigers’ freshman quarterback ready to play. The Tigers will practice at Clemson through Dec. 19 before being off Dec. 20-22. The Tigers will then leave for Dallas on Dec. 23 and will begin practice there Christmas Eve.

Clemson will need to make good use of its time as it prepares for Notre Dame’s tough defense, according to Swinney.

“There’s some post-snap decisions that have to be made by everybody, not just the quarterback. But then we’ve got to be locked in up front,” Swinney said. “They do a nice job. This is the best d-line we’ve played across the board. They do a nice job of scheming up your protections and things like that. We’ve got a good plan coming together. I feel good about it.”


Swinney has made several trips to Dallas before, but he has never been to the home of the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium, which is also known as Jerry World after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

He is looking forward to his first trip to the stadium, as well as to the Cotton Bowl.

“Everything in my world, the people that do what I do and have been able to experience the hospitality of the Cotton Bowl, they just rave about it. I’ve heard that for years,” Swinney said. “So I’m excited about experiencing that firsthand, No. 1. We’re at a great hotel, but being in that stadium. I’ve never been in there. I’m pumped up about having the opportunity to play in Jerry’s World and kind of see what that’s all about and see the Jumbotron and all of that.”


Swinney is excited about the progress of freshman defensive end Justin Mascoll and said the Georgia native could help the Tigers in the College Football Playoff.

Mascoll is redshirting this season but has only played in one of the four games he is allowed to participate in while still redshirting.

“He’s really had a great year. He’s really physically developed … He’s got an incredible motor and mindset. I love what I’ve seen of him on the scout team all year, his readiness every single day,” Swinney said. “He has grinded. He’s going to be an outstanding player. He’s a guy that we’ve kind of moved up. Who knows if we’ll get the opportunity (to play him), but we’re going to have him ready. Fortunately we’re a healthy team right now and he’s got some good guys in front of him.”