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November 4, 2012

Sunday teleconference notes

CLEMSON -- Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney addressed members of the media Sunday as part of his weekly teleconference. The coach looked back on his team's 56-20 win over Duke, while also discussing this week's preparation for Maryland. Sunday afternoon the Tigers opened as a 27-point favorite over Maryland.

The following is an edited transcript of Sunday's teleconference.

Opening statements. "Really good win for our team and a great way to finish up our road season. They just continue to improve. There are always mistakes and things to correct but the film was very good. I love the attitude of our team. Defensively they played intense and physical. We tackled better and got pressure. I was proud of the fact that we didn't give up any points off the turnovers. I'm pleased with the progression of our defense. We had some big plays early in the game that hurt us but we recovered from that. Just a really positive night for our defense, holding them to three points in the second half.

"Offensively, just the explosive plays and we played with a lot of confidence. We were poor in short yardage last year but it's been a strength this year. The offensive line was outstanding. We ran the ball effectively and got to play a lot of guys on both guys. We took 72 and I think 68 guys got to play. The second group offensively went in and did a good job. Just overall a very solid day. Special teams were solid, too.

"Players of the game were the offensive line, defensively it was Spencer Shuey and special teams it was Darrell Smith.

"Injury-wise we came out pretty good. I'm most worried about Cole Stoudt. He had a hit to his sternum. He's pretty sore. The rest of those guys look like they're feeling pretty good today. Just glad to get another win and get home this week in Death Valley and try to have a great homecoming. It's always a great time around campus. Riding through today and seeing all the students out there building their floats, it's just exciting. It's always an exciting week."

Question. Can you expand on the play of the o-line?

Swinney. "You rush the ball for over 300 and pass for over 300, that's impressive. We protected very well. I thought Brandon Thomas played as good as he's played in a while. Dalton was solid. Giff had one of his better games. Shatley has been a rock. We took 13 linemen there and we played all 13. Guys like Isaiah Battle, I was pleased with what we saw from him. MacLain played tight end and o-line. Ryan Norton played a bunch of snaps. When you can get them some quality time, it helps you from a morale standpoint. Not enough has been said about them and the job they've done. That was definitely one of their better performances overall."

Question. What does it mean to your line when you have someone at quarterback like Tajh who can execute on such a high level?

Swinney. "The offensive line can control what they control. They don't make the reads and don't throw the ball. They don't make the checks. They have to do their job. Their joy is when the chains move. The confidence is huge when you have a special player leading the team. He's the captain. He's the guy making it all go out there. If we protect, they know we have an opportunity to get big plays with the skill we have on this team. We have a chance to pick up a lot of yards. That's where they're getting their joy … moving those chains. They have 1,000-percent confidence in Tajh Boyd, as they should."

Question. What's the status of Ellington and Ford?

Swinney. "I think they're going to be fine. Brandon is just kind of bruised in his side. They X-rayed him and he looked pretty good last night. Same thing with Andre. He kind of felt a tweak and we didn't think he could cut it loose. He didn't tear it. He had pretty good motion today. They feel like both of those guys should be fine. We'll see how they'll be in the next few days."

Question. Talk about D.J. and Roderick and their progress.

Swinney. "Both have made plays in critical situations. Look at last year and D.J. was a freshman. He was the leading rusher in the Auburn game. And Hot Rod has earned the trust and confidence of his teammates and the staff. He's very dependable. When Andre went down, I walked over to them and said, 'Y'all have to go. Let's go.' They told me, 'We got it, coach. We got it.' You never know when your number will be called. And Zac Brooks coming in, he showed what he's capable of doing. I know he hasn't had as much opportunity but he's improved all year. Another year in the weight room, he could be a powerful runner for us."

Question. Have you seen a team go through what Maryland has gone through with injuries?

Swinney. "No. I've seen a rash of injuries at other positions but not at quarterback. And I think three of them have had the same injury. I don't know how you explain it. It's kind of a fluky thing. You have to move on and that's what they're trying to do. They're trying to give themselves a chance to win. You have to applaud them for that. They're trying to do what they can to give themselves a chance to make plays."

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