College Football Preview: Clemson vs. South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. ó The coaching staffs at Clemson and South Carolina know each other well ó on and off the field.
South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward wouldn’t have passed college accounting without the help of Clemson’s Dabo Swinney. Tigers assistant Charlie Harbison was best man at Gamecock assistant head coach Ellis Johnson’s wedding. Clemson assistant Danny Pearman was on Alabama’s staff in the 1990s with Ward and Johnson.
Do the close ties give either side an edge when No. 15 Clemson faces rival South Carolina today?
“It just makes it better when you beat ’em,” Swinney said with a smile.
The Palmetto State’s two biggest schools meet at Williams-Brice Stadium headed in opposite directions. Clemson (8-3) has won six in a row and will play in the ACC championship game on Dec. 5. South Carolina (6-5) has lost four of five since opening the year 5-1.
And there will be an awful lot of coaches on both sides who cut their teeth on the Crimson Tide way of doing things.
Swinney grew up near Birmingham and soaked himself in all things Alabama football. He walked-on as a receiver and eventually played for the 1992 national champions under his mentor, Gene Stallings.
It was there Swinney met Ward, a special teams standout for the Crimson Tide from 1986-89. The two were graduate assistants for Stallings in the early 1990s, when Pearman and Johnson were full-out assistants.
Swinney’s administrative aide, Woody McCorvey, coached at Alabama from 1990 to 1997.