Swinney Sunday Teleconference
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The following is an edited transcript of Dabo Swinney's Sunday teleconference with reporters.
Opening Statements: "We're just kind of getting back going today as far as meeting with the team and putting the Georgia Tech game to bed so that when we come in tomorrow and look forward to BC.
"I'm really proud of the effort of our team Thursday. I thought they played hard Thursday but after watching the film Friday, I thought they played with a great will to win and a lot of poise to come from behind 24 points. Against a good team, that's not something that happens very often. I really believe we're a better team today than we were last week. We're a football team that's close and a team that cares about each other.
"There's a group of guys out there that never quit. Offensively I'm exctited because I believe we can score and be explosive. They had seven three and outs which is encouraging. I'm very proud of Richard Jackson for kicking a 53-yarder, which is the longest field goal in 17 years here.
"Overall there were a lot of positives from the game. We had a chance to win it and had some ethings not go our way. All of our goals, every single one of them, are still on the table. We'll get back to work tomorrow with good focus and try to get ready for a good Boston College team coming in here.
"I'm proud of the defense and the way they stood up. I think they held them to 27-percent completion percentage, which is the best in 11 years at Clemson. We didn't give up a defensive toudhdown ouside of the first one. They held Jonathan Dwyeer to 66 yards. We had a 100-yard receiver. C.J., I think had about 90 yards rushing. I think C.J. had 234 yards of all-purose yardage.
"We didn't get it done on the scoreboard but again I think we'll grow from this and go on to be a very good team."
Question: Can you discuss some of your adjustments on the offensive line in the second half?
Dabo: "First of all, four of five offensive linemen played just outstanding. They played very, very ewell. Chris Hairston had an excellent game. Austin was outstanding. Mason had his best game since he has been here. Antoine really really played well. Those four were tremendous. But we had a little problem at right tackle in the first half. They were matching up their No. 91 on one of our tackles so we ended up putting Chris Hairston over at right tackle and he did a great job on No. 91. We tweaked some protections to make sure we were minimizing some issues. And that helped us a ton."
Question: So many teams have struggled to stop that offense. What did you do to limit that?
Dabo: "The first half, that first big TD they got, they cracked with their receiver, and our corner – instead of staying outside and calling the crack – he came inside and followed the receiver. They ended up getting outside of us and we had two guys who didn't have good pursuit angles. And then they got some big plays in the first half where we missed tackles. As we settled in, the guys realy played with discipline. That's what we have to do with that team. We won a lot of physical matchups where our guy was better than their guy. We did a much better job with tacklng and discpline in the second half. They were only 3 for 14, but two of those were critical plays in the ball game."
Question: What kind of preparation went into Ga. Tech?
Dabo: "We spent a lot of time on all of our opponents. We spent a few days in the spring and two or three days in fall camp. The last 10 or 12 days before the Middle Tennessee game, it was all Middle. When we came in and practiced that Sunday after the Middle Tennessee game, our guys had good recall, so we had good practice. The biggest thing you have to do is execute and win matchups. I don't know if Ga. Tech will go seven three and outs again all season. But we were able to get back into the game because of that."
Question: I got the impression Kyle grew up a lot Thursday. Is he more mature for a freshman and also where is he as far as the technical things like reading defenses and checking?
Dabo: "He's very mature. He's like a junior running around out on the field. He's the son of a coach. He has been around ball all his life. He's been well-schooled and really understands football and defensive coverages and fronts and alignments. He can recognize blitzes. He has done a great job of getting us in and out of protections. It's not often you're around a freshman QB anyway who's actually starting.
"He made some mistakes, things he'll have to learn from, but he made a lot of big plays, too. Look at those big throws he made... he put them on the money. I'm proud of how he fought back. He was never flustered and made some plays with his feet."
Question: BC's coaches aren't yet sure who they're going to start at quarterback this week. How does that impact your preparation for them?
Dabo: "We're just kind of getting into them the last day or so. I'm just excited that we'll be able to play defense this week. This will be the first game that we'll be able to play our normal defenses. We've just played two scheme games. The first was all DIME and five wides, then we turned around and played an option team. We've yet to play our style of play. I'm looking forward to seeing those guys out there doing what they've been coached to do."
Question: Since the game ended, have you talked to Willy about your decision not to use him Thursday?
Dabo: "No. My intention, again, was to play Willy. But I certainly didn't intend for us to be down 24 points. We made the decision right then to leave the best we've got in there and try to overcome some of the mistakes we made in the first quarter. But that was at a lot of positions. A lot of guys didn't play
Question: Do you explore keeping Hairston at right tackle?
Dabo: "That was just a matchup problem. They kept putting No. 91 on our right side, so we made that move and that helped us. He could play either but he'll be at left tackle."
Question: How many snaps did Landon play?
Dabo: "Not many, probably 10 snaps or so. But he's going to be the starter this week. I'm hoping he'll respond. He'll be the guy we'll move up this week and he'll have the opportunity to reaffirm himself this week."
Question: What's been holidng him back?
Dabo: "Poor performance in spractice."
Question: What has Landon been struggling with in practice?
Dabo: "He's a competitor, he's a tough kid. Hopefully he's going to accept the challenge that has been put before him. He just didn't compete like we wanted him to. He has struggled a bit with his assignments. To be honest with you, he hasn't competed like we wanted him to. But he can do it. Th last four or five games of the year, he played well. Coach Pearman has been after him and we feel like we're going to give him the opportunity to be the guy again. Hopefully he'll respond again."
Question: You said you feel this team is better today than last week. How is it better?
Dabo: "These guys know. It's one thing to think that you can be a good team. It's another thing to know that you have a good team and can be a good team. These kids have an offense that can score and can come from behind. I think they are truly all in. It's a group of kids that's made up of a bunch of winners. They care about each other. That's where we have made improvement.
"On the offensive line, I saw four guys just get after it. Defensively, we saw a defense stand up against an offense that's tough to prepare for. Jonathan Dwyer had seven games last year where he had 100 yards rushing in the first half. We held him to 66 yards. Those are things we improved on. Just the mental part of them knowing that we're on the right track. Our work that we put in is paying off. They believe."
Question: We've all thought for a while that DeAndre McDaniel could be a playmaker on defsne and he has delievered the first two weeks. But is there anything different with him that you can detect as to why he's been so productive?
Dabo: "I didn't want to say too much about him this spring, because I'd really think you'd have felt I was crazy. Y'all think I'm crazy anyway. When you lose two NFL safeties, it's hard to say you might be better at safety, but that's what I felt like then. I almost said it then. But this kid is special. I felt he played out of position last year.
"But this (replacing a starting SS) was never a concern of ours. He has got great instincts. He's back there catching balls, but is also up in the box, stopping the run. The thing is, he's still learning and making mistakes, but is going to get better and better. I think he's in the top five in the country in interceptions. He's one of those guys that comes along from time to time with great instincts, great ball skills. No telling what he'll end up doing as the season goes along."
Question: Based on your limited preparation for BC, as you know, they've given up only seven points on defense. Your impressions on attacking them.
Dabo: "They're BC. It doesn't matter when you ask me that. Their coaches do a great job. They're a tough defense to move up and down the field on. You have to be very physical. You have to put drives together. They usually don't make a lot of mistakes. It'll be a big challenge for us. They've played Norheastern and Kent State and not played in conference yet, so that'll be a different test for them, but we have our hands full for sure."
Question: Talk about Brandon Clear's first start and is there a potential next move there at X? Did you like the production you got at X Thursday?
Dabo: "We got great production out of the X-positoin because Jacoby played there for much of the game. But I thought Brandon played pretty good. He was out of bounds on the one opportunity he had. He played with really good effofrt and did a good job with what he was asked to do. Marquan had another big game. We went from four drops in the first game to one in the second game. Overall I was pleased. We didn't play a lot of guys again because of the nature of the game. I'd like to see Jaron in more. Marquan in more, as we go along."
Question: The fake field goal call by Ga. Tech was obviously a perfectly executed call. But given that their kicker had not made a kick beyond 40 yards in his career, should you guys have been more ready for that?
Dabo: "Kind of hard for me to answer that. Certain things are hard to prepare for. I'm not sure that was a legal play. We'll just let it lay at that."
Question: Have y'all submitted something (to the ACC office)?
Dabo: "We've had some discussions, but sometimes when you don't have anything good to say, it's best to not say something. So I have no comment."
Question: Would the holding call on Thomas Austin also fall into that category?
Dabo: "No comment."
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