Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his Sunday teleconference to review the game with Pitt, update injuries and look ahead to Wake Forest. A transcript of the teleconference follows:
First of all we are obviously very disappointed just like everybody else. It’s not any fun to lose. We didn’t earn it. We didn’t earn the win. We didn’t do what we needed to do to win the game.
Offensively as we said last night a lot of good things. We set a ton of records but records don’t win the game. You have to finish when you have opportunities, but there were a lot of positives. Mike Williams and Artavis, Renfrow. Deshaun right at 75 percent completions on 70 passing attempts and 630 yards and all of that stuff. Third down was phenominal, 12 of 18. I was very pleased with our pass protection, especially with two freshmen tackles out there. We just did a tremendous job in that area so there were so positives. The name of the game is points and the three turnovers and just not finishing in the redzone. That has been an achilles heel for us. Certainly if we don’t change anything and we convert the redzone opportunities we win the game.
Defensively we played better in the second half but definitely our worst game. We really had no answer for the shovel option. A lot of big plays. We had a couple of really critical busts and just a ton of penalties. The same thing, we didn’t do a good job in the redzone either. They were four for four with four touchdowns. If you can hold them to two field goals on two of those touchdowns then it is a different ballgame. The redzone on both sides we missed some opportunities to get some points back.
Special teams we blocked two kicks. Dexter Lawrence blocked an extra point and a field goal. They had the No. 1 return guy out there in the country and they really didn’t get anything.
There were some positives in the game, but the name of the game is finding a way to win and we didn’t do that. We are all disappointed. It is a shame to lose a game, but sometimes that is what is takes to truely appreciate what you have to do. We will bounce back. Like I told our team anybody can handle the good times. A little adversity brings out the best in good people and I know we have a bunch of good people here. We have a bunch of good people in that locker room and a bunch of good people in that staff room.
We are disappointed but there is a lot of good news. The last time we lost we had to wait nine months to play. That is one thing I remember. We don’t have to wait nine months to play. We get to play this week. Not only do we get to play but we get to line up and play for our division title. The other thing is we have a good football team. We had a bad day. We have not had a bad year.
There are definitely some things that we can correct but we have a very good football team. No different than if we were 10-0. Just because we are 9-1 doesn’t change anything with our team. The other positive is we still control our destiny. We have a tough race that we are in the middle of and this is definitely a little setback but again an opportunity for us to grow from it.
We are going to get our minds right, flush it and see if we can find a way to win the division this year. There is a lot out there so that is how we will handle it.
We will get ready for a tough Wake Forest team that is good this year, has played good on defense and gave Louisville all they could handle. Louisville kind of got the game in hand in the fourth quarter but we are looking forward to our opportunity to get back out there and play this week.
The biggest is Scott Pagano. He doesn’t have to have surgery or anything but he has a fourth metatarsel injury. But it does not require surgery. He will be out of here for a little while. I don’t know when he will be back, definitely for the bowl game. I have no idea if he would have a chance for the ACC championship if we were to make that.
Mitch (Hyatt) with the sprain that he has. Somehow he got stepped on and they kind of came down on the back of his leg and sprained his foot. He actually looked pretty good today. Danny was pretty optimistic but we will reevaluate him in the morning.
There are a couple of other guys still kind of nursing a couple of things but other than that we are in pretty good shape outside of Pagano.
Players of the Game
Special Teams – Dexter Lawrence
Defensively – Dorian O’Daniel
Offensively – Mike Williams
Question – Can you update us on Fruhmorgen’s status, Marcus Edmond and how Watson’s shoulder is after throwing 70 passes?
Marcus did play some but he is still working his way back.
As far as Fruhmorgen nothing has changed. Actually I hope to get a chance to visit with him a little bit tomorrow. That is really kind of between him and his family right now. I am just keeping him in my thoughts and prayers and hoping that he will be back sooner than later but right now he is out indefinitely.
Shoot he is sore after throwing 70 passes. No he is good. I was messing with him today down there. He was in good spirits. Obviously he was disappointed just like everybody else.
These guys aren’t used to losing here, especially that guy. He hasn’t lost many times ever. He had a couple of plays he would love to have back, but man he made a lot of great plays. But he is good. He came out of the game well and it is really remarkable some of the plays that he made. We probably had litterally 30 plus run calls that he converted into passes. Up and down the field. A lot of long drives. He had a couple of mistakes but when you throw 70 passes and complete 75 percent of them that’s a pretty amazing day.
Again our protection was pretty good. I can’t say enough about Anchrum and Pollard, two freshmen out there did a heck of a job for us.
Question: With what happened with Michigan and Washington does that kind of help reinvigorate the players?
I hope not. Regardless of what happened in those games we still control our destiny. None of that stuff matters. We just need to go and win the next game. That is what we have to do. Go and get a tenth win and continue to play. It’s a long season and as we all saw yesterday a lot can change in one day.
That has really never been a focus of ours and it is not going to be a focus now. Our focus is trying to go have a great week and see if we can start a new winning streak. It is never to late to get a new streak going and that is what we are going to focus on and see if we can find a way to beat Wake Forest.
Question – With Scott Pagano out will there be any thought of moving Christian Wilkins back inside?
We will think about everything. All things are on the table. A lot of that depends on practice and how Huggins and Jabril do. We have moved Jabril back inside. Hopefully Huggy and Jabril will step up as well but we definitely have options.
Question – Mike has a great day offensively but does him running down the player after the interception show the type of player he is?
Absolutely it was just a phenominal effort and Artavis too. Artavis came from all the way on the back side. Both of those guys just tremendous effort. I think Falcinelli was in there as well. He ran as hard as he could. But just a great individual effort by Mike to try to give us a chance there. Unfortunately we weren’t able to stop them.
Question – What did you see from Deshaun yesterday and today having to deal with a loss that he hasn’t had to do very much?
Just like you would expect, like how a champion would respond. Nobody needs to tell DW anything. He is very aware of when he makes a mistake and when he plays well. It was just very unfortunate because again that was just amazing what he did. 585 yards passing with 75 percent completion is unbelievable. It really is and how he managed the game. He was coming off a bruise there that he worked through all week. I was just really proud of him.
At the end of the day if you are quarterback your mistakes are very glaring. He understands that because he knew that we had an opportunity to put the game away but we had the opportunity to put the game away in several areas. He’s fine but he was disappointed because he hates to lose. I’m glad he hates to lose. Everybody on this team hates to lose. We didn’t really know what to do last night. I’m glad that it isn’t a habit around here and it’s not going to become one.
He was just disappointed and he came in today we talked through it, flushed it and moved on.