Swinney Sunday Teleconference Transcript

Jan 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney talks during a press conference after loosing to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2016 CFP National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his weekly Sunday teleconference to review the win over Louisville, update injuries and look ahead to Boston College.  A transcript follows of this week’s teleconference.

Opening Statement

It was a quick turnaround for us here.  I’m not sure anyone got a lot of sleep last night on this end.  What a special moment again that we all had the privilege of being a part of.  That is what it is all about.  We beat a really good team but we made enough mistakes to probably lose three games.  We have a lot to improve on for sure.

I just can’t say enough about how proud I am of our team and our staff.  The toughness and never quit attitude that I saw especially just watching the tape.  The guys played with incredible effort.

We are 5-0 and looking forward to continuing to get better.  I think our best football is certainly in front of us.  At some point we are going to put it all together.

Again we made some mistakes.  There is a lot to improve on but we really rose up when we had to have it.

I am pleased with all aspects that we had contributions from.  The special teams is probably the most consistent area right now.  I am proud of what we are doing there.  Three touchbacks on kickoff coverage.  Teasdall probably had his best game.  Our kickoff return I felt like that changed the game.  There are a lot of good things there that we can continue to build on.

Offensively we average 8.2 yards per play.  We only had two tackles for loss for minus four yards.  We did a really good job up front handling the pressure.  We had no sacks against a really good defense.  Because of the balance, we had 200 plus rushing and passing, and because of our balance our explosive plays really took off.  We had a lot of explosive plays.  The running game played well, Wayne Gallman.  We threw and caught the ball pretty well.  We only had one drop and obviously that was an interception.

I am so proud of our quarterback and his resolve and poise and his desire to just go win.  It was a tremendous night for him with five touchdown passes and then back to the running game.

I was disappointed, obviously we weren’t able to do what we need to do in taking care of the football.  There were five turnovers and two of them in the redzone where there were two other opportunities to come away with points and we didn’t.  So as a result we didn’t have enough plays.  But again, when we had to have it we did it.

Defensively just a dominant performance.  Three turnovers and five sacks to their none.  We had 52 yards for tackles for loss to our four.  And just overall the effort.  I have never had a defense… We had 105 gradable plays.  I have never been a part of that.  And certainly guys got tired but we basically played two games of defense.  But they continued to give all that they had all the way until the end.

We made some mistakes in the second half.  We weren’t as sharp.  And again the offense with the turnovers we put them in a bad situation.  I am just really proud of them.  Again the heart.

Again a quick turnaround so we are getting ready to go out and practice.  We have a tough trip up to Boston College.  For us it is just continuing to do what we do around here.  We have momentum and that windshield like mentality.  We have our daily focus and trying to play to the standard.

This is the biggest game of the year for us and we know we will have to play well.  We were very lucky up there two years ago.  We are just getting started but we need to evaluate BC.  They are 3-2 and coming off a big win.  I know they will be excited to play on national TV up there Friday night.

Injury Updates

Tre Lamar was the one that we are not sure about yet.  He just kind of sprained his ankle.  The didn’t think it was too serious but I will probably know more here in a little bit tonight.

We hope to put Adrian Baker back in practice this week as far as taking him out of green and cutting him loose and see how he does.  The same thing for Denzel Johnson.  Austin Bryant same thing.  We want to really cut him loose in practice this week.  We want to evaluate if he is ready to go help us win this week or do we cut him loose and bring him back next week.

We made it through the game pretty good.

Players of the Game

Offense – Wayne Gallman

Defense – Ben Boulware and Jadar Johnson

Special Teams – Artavis Scott

Question – Can you talk about the decision to replace Tavien with Artavis on the kickoff return?

As I said last night, I felt like we had, and Tavien did a good job, but I felt like we missed one.  There was one that I just felt like we missed it.  First of all I hoped we didn’t get another kickoff return but if we do I am going to go with Artavis here.  Artavis is a very confident, veteran guy and I was just looking for a spark.  And he just did a great job for us and the guys did a great job blocking.  We had the double team that started with Milan Richard and Grant Radakovich.  They did a great job.  It was just a great job of Artavis hitting it and making the big play which was the spark we needed.

Question – How difficult was the decision on the last drive before the half.  Did it cross your mind to play it safe?

Well we had all of our timeouts so I said let’s be aggressive.  And with all of those timeouts if we get one or two plays then I will make a decision.  We come right out and hit, I think it was Mike Williams on that first play and the next thing you know you are right there at midfield almost and you have all of your timeouts.  So it was just lets go.  It was a neat drive and well executed.

Question – Did the team kind of rally around they Lamar Jackson hype and the talk that Deshaun was a second class citizen?

I don’t think anybody thought he was a second class citizen or anything like that.  But I think they are young people.  First of all Lamar Jackson has earned all of the praise that he has gotten.  He played tremendous football through five games.  We did a really good job with him right up until but in the fourth quarter he had three long runs that really hurt us.  But again we were tired and he got stronger.  He is a tough, tough competitor.

Our guys were motivated to play well.  Our guys were motivated to win, not to make some statement about Deshaun Watson.  Our guys just wanted to win the game and we are playing the No. 3 team in the country.  We had a lot on the line.  We wanted to stay undefeated.  We wanted to stay in control of our destiny in the division and all of those types of things.  That is what our focus was.

Question – When Leggett wasn’t playing as well this season did you ever have to talk to him to boost his morale?

No, no, not at all.  That comes with the position.  You don’t evaluate a guy just because of how many catches he has.  When you are a skill position player there is a lot that has to go right that you don’t control.  That’s why when you do get those opportunities you have to take advantage of them.

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