Swinney updates latest on banged-up Tigers preparing for No. 4 Irish

by - Staff Writer -
Tyler Davis has been out for the last two games.
Tyler Davis has been out for the last two games.

The top-ranked Clemson Tigers (as well as No. 4 Notre Dame) took a different route to this point in the week, but they are back on schedule for the top-4 showdown in Notre Dame Stadium Saturday (7:30 p.m./NBC).

The week featured an early start with a rare Sunday practice and Clemson’s typical Tuesday prep then on a Monday with an NCAA-mandated day off the practice fields for Election Day.

After Wednesday’s practice, it’s full steam ahead for the key primetime ACC matchup.

“We’ve had a good week of practice and proud of our guys in how they handled a little bit of change in our routine and done a nice job,” Swinney said. “Excited about finishing things up (Thursday) and heading up to South Bend on Friday.”

Swinney updated the latest on some injuries and more:

Swinney’s Wednesday notes

* Swinney said both starting defensive tackle Tyler Davis (ankle) and linebacker Mike Jones Jr aren’t quite ready and aren't in a position to travel for the game. The good news, Swinney says, is that they should be ready to roll after the bye week ahead of the trip to Florida State. Swinney says it’s the next man up on defense and there’s opportunity there for them and DJ Uiagalelei this week too in place of Trevor Lawrence (COVID-19 protocol). Certainly better with Tyler Davis than without him, Swinney notes, but he is confident in the interior group. Not big numbers but they have to make it work. Davis has been out the last two games after an injury in practice and Jones Jr. missed his first action last week. Starting middle linebacker James Skalski will also be out for Saturday as previously announced (groin).

* Swinney updated Taisun Phommachanh’s recovery from a hand injury recently -- he’s good and ready to go. Swinney said there’s no problems at all. Doing everything they need him to do. Swinney said he is also more confident in Hunter Helms after seeing him in action at Georgia Tech. He is getting more work as a third-team QB now with Lawrence out.

* On the receivers, Swinney said Frank Ladson Jr. (hip) will be ready to go. Swinney says Joseph Ngata (abdominal muscle) has had a good practice week as well and he hopes that will translate to more playing time on Saturday.

* Swinney says Travis Etienne’s improvement and confidence as a receiver helps the overall offensive gameplan. He is playing incredibly confident and playing even faster because the game has slowed down. Swinney described him as the player the Tigers have.

* Swinney called Notre Dame “elite, elite” upfront and they can be multiple in the secondary because of that.

* Swinney called Notre Dame’s offensive line “monsters” and “incredibly smart.” Winning at the point of attack is key. Swinney says the key area of the game will be on third down on both sides of the ball. Notre Dame has succeeded there as well and something has to give there.

* Swinney said the passing game opened things up for the running game against BC after they stacked the box.

* Swinney hopes more time to prepare for the QB1 role will help Uiagalelei, but Swinney says his mindset has been that way from game one. That’s why he looked to good against BC with his first start. Swinney says he will be ready and play well.

* Swinney called Notre Dame’s linebacker corps physical and smart. They read plays well and are physical. Swinney doesn’t see any weaknesses on their defense.

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