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Dabo Swinney embracing GameDay, but not changing message

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Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is embracing the atmosphere that is expected in Clemson next Saturday.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

With ESPN's College Gameday, the network's flagship three-hour long pregame show, set to return to Clemson this week for the Tigers battle with Notre Dame, as well as ESPN broadcasting its EMMY award winning SportsCenter show from Clemson, there is a lot for the Tigers' head coach to be excited about.

"I think as a competitor, player or a coach you want to have the opportunity to compete at the highest level," Swinney said during his weekly teleconference. "I know I do, and our players do, so anytime you get the opportunity, with 120 Division-1 schools out there, and Gameday chooses to come to your place, I just think that is huge positive. I don't see a negative in it. It's great exposure for our university and, certainly, our program. And certainly, everybody wants to have an opportunity to play in games like this."

"You're talking about not just these type of games...Gameday, nationally ranked team competing, but you are talking about Notre Dame. This is the winningest program in the history of football. It's an awesome opportunity. They are all big, but some games bring a little extra pizazz with them, some extra things that come along with it...certainly this game brings that, and we'll embrace it, have fun with it, and get ready to go play."

For the Tigers, the buildup to this game has been unlike any other, with requests from media, friends, and family pouring in. With all of the extra attention and hype surrounding this game, Swinney said his Tigers are approaching this week just like any other week. That mantra of playing a nameless, faceless opponent has led to one of the best stretches at home in Clemson history, with the Tigers, under Swinney, boasting a 41-6 record.

The reason for that success for Swinney is because the focus this week, like any other, is not on the opponent-it's on Clemson.

"It's just the same, it really is. The message is no different than it was for App (Appalachian State) or Wofford or for Louisville. It's about Clemson. It's about us and preparing...that's the way it is. We just don't really change what we do. We believe in how we prepare and we don't all of the sudden start to practice different because we're playing Notre Dame. We practice the same. We have a formula that we apply each and every week regardless."

"You do kind-of speak to the things that can be distractions. There's always distractions. In a game like this, there is definitely more media, more things like that. More people wanting tickets-all that type of stuff. We will definitely, kind of, address that stuff with all the young guys that we have, but we will stay focused on what we control, and our job is to get ready to play the game and let all of that other stuff stay outside of our box."

Swinney understands better than most how to focus his players regardless of the opponent. However, he also understands how special this week is. With the eyes of the country focused on his Tigers this week, he wants the players to embrace how special it is and have some fun.

"That is when you rely on your veteran guys because you want them to enjoy it. You want them to be excited about it, embrace it, and have some fun. So we try to keep a good perspective, but in terms of what we do, it's not going to be any different from week to week."