SPORTS LIBRARY, Clemson, football

CLEMSON -- The biggest story over the past two weeks for Clemson has been whether quarterback Kelly Bryant will be able to play in Saturday’s (8 p.m., ABC) game against Georgia Tech.

While Bryant returned to practice on Monday following his completion of the team’s concussion protocol, he is still nursing an injury to his ankle, which he expects to be 80 to 85 percent by the time Saturday night arrives.

“I can't jump in his body and do that,” head coach Dabo Swinney said. “I just watch practice. If he can practice and do everything that we ask our players to do in practice, then there should be no reason why he can't play. You always defer to the player, you know. Sometimes you think a guy can go, and he can't. It's just watching practice. As long as he can do everything he needs to do to be successful, gives us a chance to win, he'll be good to go. I get a report every day on who is in practice, who is limited, who is out. That's how we go about our business.”

If Bryant is unable to go on Saturday night, the quarterback duties will fall to backup Zerrick Cooper, who officially moved into the role following the Tigers’ loss to Syracuse. He is no longer listed as “co” backup with true freshman Hunter Johnson.

But Swinney is not planning on needing either Cooper or Johnson on Saturday, sensing that Bryant will be good come Saturday night.

“He's taken every rep, doing a great job. But I have no idea,” Swinney said. “I mean, I don't really know of many players that are 100 percent this time of year anywhere. It's a long season. Most everybody's got something that they're dealing with. But Kelly looks good. Hopefully, he won't have any setbacks and will play a great game Saturday.

Focus on Clemson

What did the seventh-ranked Clemson Tigers do during their bye week? They worked on Clemson.

Swinney has long said, “The only team that can beat Clemson is Clemson.” And if you ask the coaches, while they are quick to credit Syracuse for its victory nearly two weeks ago, they will also say that if Clemson had executed the right way, the Tigers would have emerged victorious.

So during the off week, the Tigers spent time working on the one team that can keep them out of the ACC Championship game and from a return trip to the College Football Playoff — Clemson.

“Well, the biggest thing is just a lot of work on Clemson,” Swinney said. “You take advantage of some time as a staff to really reflect on the previous seven games, really study yourself offensively and defensively, then also we do a lot of crossover study. Our defensive staff is studying our offense, our offensive staff is studying our defense, trying to help each other so that we can really plan a little better and give ourselves some good knowledge going into the second half of the season.”

Breast Cancer Awareness

This year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Game is Saturday against the Georgia Tech. While the team will be focused on beating the Yellow Jackets, Dabo’s All In Team Foundation and the Clemson University Athletic Department are teaming up to beat a much more sinister adversary — breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in South Carolina and it’s the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in the state. The Swinney family has personally felt the impact of breast cancer and Dabo’s All In Team Foundation is committed to raising awareness and money to help fund new technology and find a cure.

Dabo’s All In Team Foundation works hand in hand with the community and its partners to make the fight easier for the next family to be affected by this disease. Since 2009, Dabo’s All In Team Foundation has raised and donated over $500,000 to breast cancer prevention and research.

You can help fight breast cancer by texting the word DABO to the number 51555 and entering the amount of your donation. Fans can also purchase the 2017 Breast Cancer Pin for $5 at various retailers in Clemson, online or at the stadium.

Zach Lentz is a Clemson University alumnus who got his start working with the Tigers basketball team from 1999-2004. Now a resident of Orangeburg County, he reports on Clemson sports as a correspondent for The Times and Democrat.

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