Friday, December 28, 2018

Head coaches say final words before tomorrow's big playoff semifinal battle

   The head coaches of Clemson and Notre Dame met the media one last time Friday on the eve of the 83rd annual Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
  Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly shared the stage at the Dallas Omni Hotel, the media headquarters for the Cotton Bowl. The morning press conference was the final media session before Saturday's 3 p.m. kickoff of the College Football Playoff semifinal.
   Both coaches appreciated the rare occurrence of a bowl game falling on a Saturday, the traditional college football game day.
   "We love routine, and that's one of the things that's been kind of cool about this particular bowl, is a Monday is actually a Monday and a Friday is actually a Friday," Clemson's Swinney said.  "But today is a Friday, so we have a very routine day. I think that helps. So we just prepare for the game as we do for all of our games."
   After a fun events and media obligations, Notre Dame's Kelly said it's good to have the normal low-key day before the game.
   "Again, the ability to now get into flipping that mindset from a practice to a competitive mindset," Kelly said. "Our kids will feel as though today is really Friday and tomorrow they're ready to play."
   The coaches had high praise for the Cotton Bowl's legendary hospitality while in the confines of preparing for a national championship semifinal.
   "Dabo and I were just talking about the treatment that each team's staff and family receives here. It's been second to none," Kelly said. "At the same time not putting us in a position where we can't focus on what's important, and that is the preparation leading up to this playoff game."
   Clemson is making its first appearance in the Cotton Bowl since Jan. 1, 1940 -- a 6-3 win over Boston College.
   "It's awesome for Clemson to come back to the place that we were in our very first bowl game," Swinney said. "I think Clemson fans are really excited. Dallas is an amazing town with so much to offer. But for me, personally, having been a part of college athletics since 1988, I've never been to the Cotton Bowl. And then you throw in the fact that you get to play in that stadium (AT&T Stadium) over there, I've never seen anything like that. It's unbelievable. What an environment."


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