CLEMSON – The Clemson and South Carolina football teams will not play until Nov. 24 but the verbal jabbing has already begun.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier wondered aloud at his press conference Tuesday whether there was another stadium nicknamed “Death Valley” other than Louisiana State’s football venue.
“Most of our guys have never been to Death Valley,” Spurrier said. “(LSU’s stadium) is the Death Valley, isn’t it? Or is there another one? There’s two of them. That’s right. There’s two Death Valleys.”
Spurrier smirked after the comment, Clemson’s Memorial Stadium is also nicknamed Death Valley.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney responded today.
“I can see where he might have a little confusion. Our guys have never been to USC. California is a long way from here,” Swinney said. “I can see where there would be a little confusion, got two Death Valleys, two USCs, but only one real one.”
The verbal zings are a continuation of what transpired last year when Swinney went on rant against South Carolina, following a dig at Clemson by USC play-by-play voice Todd Ellis, which was attributed incorrectly Spurrier.
Earlier this year, Spurrier took a shot at Clemson’s up-tempo offense saying after a South Carolina game that Clemson coaches would be impressed with the Gamecocks’ play totals.
“It’s amazing people are interested in Clemson so much,” Swinney said. “For the record, the original Death Valley is right here in case anyone has any doubt.”
Swinney is familiar with Spurrier’s one-liners, dating back to Spurrier’s time at Florida.
“When he’s winning you say anything you want,” Swinney said. “(Spurrier’s) had more lines than anyone ever will. ... Classic Spurrier.”
A rival’s vote:
Swinney said he has been impressed with South Carolina’s team and said he voted the Gamecocks “third of fourth” on his ballot. Swinney is a first-time voter in the coaches poll.
Live tackling on pause:
Swinney said after two weeks of live tackling at practice, an effort to improve in-game tackling, he has curbed the practice during Clemson’s bye this week. Swinney said his defensive players have “bruises, bumps and pains” and he wants to give them a break.
“Defensively it’s like they played three games last week,” Swinney said. “Guys are pretty beat up.”
Martavis Bryant (groin) has returned to practice after missing two games, Swinney said. Brandon Ford (ankle) is expected to play versus Virginia Tech on Oct. 20 following Clemson’s off week.