Dabo Swinney (left), Steve Spurrier (right)
(WLTX) - USC Head Coach Steve Spurrier and Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney both say this weekend's rivalry game isn't about them--it's about their teams.
The two held separate news conferences Tuesday to discuss the matchup. Clemson (10-1) is trying to break a three-game losing streak to the Gamecocks, while USC (9-2) could get to 10 wins in back-to-back years for the first time ever.
But because the two men have a history of verbal sparring, they got a few questions from reporters about their relationship with each other.
"This is not about me and Coach Spurrier" Swinney said. "Some people may want to make it that way, but I'm not about that...I've got respect for Coach Spurrier."
Reporters brought up to Spurrier his comments made at a rally several weeks ago for Marcus Lattimore. At that event, Spurrier remarked that Clemson was "that school that used to beat us a lot that doesn't beat us much anymore" and that Clemson's coach, when he talks about South Carolina, "usually it's a bunch of garbage."
Spurrier then went on to say that he agreed with a compliment Swinney paid Lattimore.
But despite several questions about the incident, Spurrier didn't believe he was making a jab.
"I don't think there's any big deal of it," Spurrier said. "I agreed with his statement...It was a moment to lighten the situation over at the [USC] Horseshoe."
The Head Ball Coach also said he doesn't usually respond to what other coaches say.
"I don't think it's personal," Swinney said. "That's just kind of who he is. I think he just likes to stir it up every now and then."
As for the game itself, both coaches are extremely complimentary to the other man's squad. Spurrier said Clemson's the best offense they've faced this year; Swinney said USC's the best defense they've come against. And each recognized that bragging rights are at stake.
The two men also praised Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, saying they didn't understand why he's not in the Heisman discussion. As for the Gamecocks signal-caller, Spurrier's not sure if he'll be physically ready for Saturday or not.
Shaw didn't practice Monday and won't practice Tuesday as he recovers from a foot injury.
"It's a pretty big concern if he [Shaw] can't practice," Spurrier said. "We'll see where we are Wednesday or Thursday."