Wednesday Night Notes: Swinney hopeful Xavier Thomas dresses out for Miami

by - Senior Writer -
Swinney walked down memory lane in part of Wednesday's media session
Swinney walked down memory lane in part of Wednesday's media session

A critical part of Clemson’s defensive line might be back in uniform for this weekend’s game against Miami.

Head coach Dabo Swinney said that defensive end Xavier Thomas – who missed most of fall camp and the first three games of the season – might be able to dress out this Saturday.

Clemson and Miami face off at 7:30 pm Saturday on ABC, with Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit on the call. The Tigers are a 14.5-point favorite.

Swinney met with the media following Wednesday’s practice and had this to say:

*Coach Swinney said it was Working Man Wednesday and the guys were excited and ready to roll.

*Swinney said he has always tried to create functional depth because it helps morale and creates competition in every aspect of the program. They want to recruit good players and get them ready to go play. Andrew Booth wasn’t the starter last week but earned ACC POW honors. Loves the depth he has at defensive end, even though they are really young. He said if you had told him back in the spring they wouldn’t have Justin Foster and Xavier Thomas he wouldn’t have believed it. It’s a talented group but low one experience so every time they get in there it is a plus.

*Miami will be a big test for the young defensive ends because Miami QB D’Eriq King can beat you with his mind, legs, and arm. Will be a big challenge for them this week.

*Says WR Joseph Ngata is a special player. Felt like he was ready to explode coming out of camp because he is a special player. He re-aggravated the abdominal injury against Virginia and they took him out. Once they get him rolling the Tigers will be better for it.

*Feels like special teams are doing great right now. Swinney has confidence in kicker BT Potter because he can knock it in from 55 yards easy. Confident in punter Will Spiers and kickoffs are doing well.

*All of the Miami backers are physical and fast, but it will start up front because the Miami defensive line is “a load.”

*Because the NCAA will allow players to take Election Day off, it will change things for the Tigers because Tuesday is a big practice day. Swinney said most of his guys have already voted. The normal off day is Sunday so they will have to come in on Sunday and work. It will cut down on prep time.

*Motivation is always key. Tigers have always gone out and got players who were motivated. He has always had a bunch of guys that were self-driven. They have gotten more talented guys over the years but it always comes back to motivation.

*Defensive end Xavier Thomas has been back at practice and they are hopeful he can at least dress this week. No word on if he will play, but Swinney is hopeful they can get him dressed out and go through -pregame work.

*They will have hands full with Miami tight ends and have to prepare for them.

*The Miami game in 2005 was memorable because they put true freshman Tyler Grisham on the field and he made a play. Curtis Baham made a ridiculous catch in the game and they missed Chansi Stuckey in the back of the end zone with a chance to win it.

*Late in the game in the win over 2009 he was praying they would kick it to CJ Spiller and they did. He said he saw former Miami head coach Randy Shannon and Shannon was still mad about it, said he told the kicker to not kick it to Spiller. Jacoby Ford helped draw up the game-winning play on the sideline. Swinney said he believes that was his first Top-10 win and it sparked them to a great run.

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