Swinney teleconference transcript

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney answers questions at his press conference prior to their Playoff match up with Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, in Miami, FL.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his weekly teleconference on Monday to review the win against N.C. State, update injuries and more. A transcript of the teleconference follows:

Opening Statement

What a ball game on Saturday. Enjoyed watching the tape. Lot of good things on tape, and obviously some mistakes and things that are very correctable in some areas where we can improve fundamentally and things like that. But overall, just a great win. Proud of our never-quit attitude. There’s just something special about that. We’re definitely fortunate to win the game with some of the critical mistakes that we had, but I tell you what man, we still won. These guys, there’s something about knowing how to win. We’re 15-2 in our last 17 games (that were decided by) seven points or less, with the only two losses coming in overtime at Tallahassee and in the national championship game. These guys know how to win, and they believe. It’s special. Most people quit, most people pout, most people this and that — these guys keep playing, and they just have this never-quit attitude and absolute belief that they can find a way to win, and that’s pretty dang special. 15-2, that ain’t getting lucky. That’s mentality, and that’s a lot of toughness mentally and physically. I cannot tell you how proud I am of our guys and how much I appreciate who they are and their will to win.

Defensively, in the ball game Saturday we only gave up one touchdown. I thought that they were able to stay within their game plan because of what was going on with us offensively from a turnover standpoint. But we did have eight tackles for loss and four sacks and obviously the two interceptions, but they had a couple nice little schemes on us and I thought they did a good job. They ran the ball a little bit better than we would have liked for them to, and definitely some areas where we’ll improve from this tape, but it’s about points and we gave up 10. We gave up one touchdown and one field goal, and then the other touchdown was the pick-six on offense. But a lot of good things. Probably the biggest disappointing thing was the long drive for the field goal and then the last six minutes of the game, but we had a lot of guys that played very well. Christian Wilkins just continues to play very well and tough. It was good to get Austin Bryant back in there. So, really a lot of good on tape.

Offensively, it’s one of the best games we’ve had, to be honest with you, from a football standpoint if you know what you’re looking at and what we’re asking our guys to do. We had one three-and-out, we had a good rhythm all day, we just left a lot of points out there. I mean a lot of points, and just very disappointing. Obviously we had four opportunities in the red zone that we got zero points, and three of those were inside the 5-yard line. So, that game really could have been in hand, but we didn’t finish in those critical situations. Altogether four opportunities where you get zero points, and not only that, but you’ve gone on long drives. So it was kind of the perfect formula for those guys to have a chance to win the game, and just disappointed that we left all those points because they were there. Just some odd situations, but give those guys a lot of credit. It’s something we have to get corrected. Again, you can sit around and you can talk about it all you want, but we’ll go back and work our fundamentals and keep swinging the bat. That’s what we’re going to do, get back in that batter’s box and keep playing. It’s all about what’s in front of us and trying to improve. It’s all about what’s in front of us and trying to improve. But at the end of the day we’re 7-0, and that’s where we want to be. We’re in control of our destiny within this division. We’ve played a tough schedule. I think that’s going to continue to prove to be the case. I’m proud of our guys.

Special teams, we blocked a field goal, we had three touchbacks on our kickoff coverage, had zero returns, we faked a punt that was executed very well. So, definitely some contributions in all three phases.

This week is coming at a good time for us. We’ll get back to some basics, evaluate some things, try to get healthy, love these guys up and try to get ready to make a run at the ACC title. That’s what we’re trying to do, and we’re on track to do just that.

Players of the Game

Offense: Mitch Hyatt

Defense: Marcus Edmond, Carlos Watkins

Special teams: Christian Wilkins

Injury Update

Van Smith just had a little soreness in his butt area, that’s the only thing I know to say. Wayne was actually really good yesterday and good this morning, but we’ll hold him out of practice this week as he goes through the protocol. But really looked very good yesterday today.

And everybody else will be in practice. We’ll get Tremayne Anchrum back in practice today, as well.

Question: What are the odds of Adrian Baker (knee) being back out there for the Florida State game?

I don’t know. We’ll see. Now he’s at the point where I think he’s ready to go, so now he’s got to go get back into the competition and get back to work and see if he can earn some time. That’s really where he’s at now.

Question: How did Jake Fruhmorgen respond after a poor performance last week?

He played well. He played well, just like I thought he would. He bounced back and had a heck of a game.

We had 495 yards, we averaged 5.4 a play, we had 91 plays — the guys played pretty dang good up front. Threw the ball for 378 yards and 75-percent completion. There were a lot of positives, and Fruhmorgen was one of them. He was definitely one of the positives. He bounced back and played a really good ball game.

Question: Did Renfrow come out of the game OK?

Yeah, he’s good. He’ll be back in practice today.

Question: Ray-Ray McCloud had another muffed punt. He was able to recover it, but how much of a concern is that going into the Florida State game?

We’ll go back to work. We’re going to get a lot of reps this week. I believe in Ray-Ray 100 percent. We’re going to continue to roll with him. There’s definitely some fundamental things that he’s got to learn from on this tape and improve upon. The turnover he had was critical up in Boston. Fortunate that he got back on the ball the other day and didn’t cost us, but we just have to get back and rebuild his confidence this week, and that’ll be a big emphasis for us.

Question: How do you go about fixing the problems with ball security?

Go back to work. We can state the obvious all we want. If it was one thing or one guy, it’d be one thing, but we’ve had a little bit of everything. The pick-six was a poor play by Deshaun (Watson). It was really that simple. They had a good call and did a nice job. They trapped the corner, and I think Deshaun thought he was coming, and the guy kind of backed out and made a nice play. It was a great play, and they just kind of fooled us right there. Then the fumble, Tyshon (Dye) had an opportunity to go in there, and their guy got it out. And the play on Mike, he’s fighting for extra yards, and he’s just got to keep the ball tight to his body.

So, we’ll go back and do some fundamental stuff that we teach from a ball-security standpoint as far as points of pressure and some of the drill work that we do. But that’s really all you can do. You just go play. Just one of those cycles that we’ve been through. We can’t do anything about what’s behind us, but we can coach the fundamentals on tape, point the things out when we do get balls in jeopardy in practice and things like that when we’re watching the tape. Make sure we emphasize that, which we always do. It’s not like we haven’t been emphasizing that, we’ve just kind of had a rash of some funky things here that are disappointing. But at the same time, there’s a lot of good. It’s unfortunate that it’s costing us some points because there’s a lot of good things going on within the rhythm of the offense. We just have to get back in the batter’s box, go back to work, work on some fundamentals and go from there.

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