Scott Glad to Coach Football in a State Where It Matters

Zach Lentz

CLEMSON— The third-ranked Clemson Tigers (11-0) will take on the South Carolina Gamecocks Saturday (noon, ESPN) inside Williams-Brice Stadium with a chance to pick up their sixth straight victory over their in state rival.

But it was not long ago that the Tigers were trying to snap a streak of five straight losses to the Gamecocks.

“That wasn't that long ago that we were in that position and that was something we knew we would have to turn,” co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said. “Coach Swinney does a great job of letting the players know how important this game is. Some of the freshmen coming in will find out. The fact that it takes up one of our five team goals lets our guys know how important it is.”

Even in the midst of the Tigers’ losing streak, Scott did not mind the photos of Gamecock fans holding up five fingers or the ribbing because it means that people care.

“It is college football in a state where it matters,’ Scott said. “And I think that is awesome. I have talked to a lot of my buddies that coach other places across the country and it does not matter as much. I think as a college coach, to be in a state where college football is so important, obviously, you don’t like seeing those things, but at the end of the day you like coaching at a place where football matters. You have passionate fans on both sides that have a lot of energy.”

The intensity, however can be seen in the fans as well as the players.

When asked if there was ever a time that he hated the Tigers during his youth, when his father Brad Scott was head coach of the Gamecocks, Scott joked, “I have to eat here now.” 

Even if Scott will not admit to his dislike for the orange and purple in his youth, he did admit that it did not take his family long to see how serious the game is.

“The story that I will always remember is a Friday morning that I woke up in Columbia and came outside to get the paper out of the mailbox, and there were three huge Tiger paws painted on my driveway,” Scott joked. “I went and got my mom and brother - my dad had already gone to work - and I was like, wow, they are pretty serious about this.

“And last year somebody fessed up to me and my dad that they are the ones that painted the driveway. The impact of this rivalry - I've seen it from both sides.”