Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his weekly Sunday teleconference to review the win over Wake Forest, update injuries and look ahead to South Carolina. A transcript follows:
I am really proud of how our guys responded. We got back on track. It was an outstanding performance.
We really played very well defensively outside of three plays. Less than 200, four sacks. We dominated third down. We played with discipline. We gave up a little screen an missed a tackle. We had a big play to the tight end where we had a mental error and they popped one big run on us. We played a lot better.
Offensively I thought our guys executed the plan very well. We got control of the game quick with four straight touchdowns. One of the biggest plays was probably winning that coin toss and getting the wind in the first quarter. I was proud of our guys for taking care of the football. We played a clean game, no turnovers on offense. We did a good job in the penalty area. The same thing for the offense in the redzone just a good job and the same on third down. No sacks for the offensive line and again number three for them was top ten in the nation in sacks coming in and we had zero sacks. We had three drops but we still had 70 percent completion.
On special teams it was unfortunate on the surprise onside I thought we executed it very well and then we blocked a punt.
Just some good things. A good solid win. I am proud of the guys for clinching the division. That is what it is all about. We had worked all year and we had only accomplished one goal and that was to win the opener. Now we have two and we have opportunities the next couple of weeks to hit a couple more.
This is a huge game (South Carolina) for us. It is really a season of it’s own. We are excited about getting back in the Valley and having a night game. We have a lot of preparation to get done this week. It is always a different week from the Thanksgiving standpoint. But we have a good plan in place for how we manage all of that stuff. I am excited to see our guys tomorrow. I know they will be eager to get back to work.
We came out of the game pretty good. We have some guys a little banged up here and there. We are at that time of the season but I don’t see anybody being out this week besides Pagano. And we should get Trayvon Mullen back as well so other than that we are in pretty good shape.
Players of the Game
Offense – Wayne Gallman
Defense – Kendall Joseph
Special Teams – Artavis Scott
Question – Obviously the win was a big factor but Deshaun threw the ball well. How difficult was that for a quarterback to do and did that effect your play calling?
It was a crazy wind but he was 23-33 so we threw the ball quite a bit. And we had three of those were drops. I think the bigger things was in the second half we had a big lead and then we were going against that wind in the third quarter and we didn’t finish a couple of drives in the third quarter like we would have liked to. He just did a nice job of taking what was there and again we felt like with their style of play they were going to try not to give up the big play. They were going to force us to put drives together and see if they could bend but not break and get a turnover or something like that. It didn’t workout that wasy because we were able to establish ourselves in the running game and we took care of the ball.
I wish we could have kicked some field goals. We had some opportunities to kick some field goals in that third quarter which would have been normal kicks for us but it was just too much wind. So we had to go for some fourth downs and a couple of them we didn’t get, but again the field position was huge for us.
And again protection wise we were very concerned. They do a great job. That is one of the best coaching staffs in this league. They do a great job in how they attack your protections. They have a great understanding in creating some problems so I was very proud of Deshaun and how he managed our protections. He made some adjustments and we protected our quarterback.
Question – What have you seen from South Carolina and what do you think of the job Will has done?
Well I think he has done an excellent job. They obviously had a very disappointing season last year. You have to start somewhere so to come in and to get them back bowl eligible is a step in the right direction. That is what as a new coaching staff you try to do. You try to create some momentum in your program. They have certainly done that. They have some big wins and they have competed and played hard all year. They are playing some young guys in certain spots and they have some junior college guys. They are not freshmen but they are still new guys that are coming in and learning on the run as well.
I think they have done a heck of a job. This is going to be a tough game. We all know Clemson and South Carolina is always a tough game regardless. You can just look at last year. It doesn’t matter what the records are and all that type of stuff. When you get into these rivalry games there is a lot of emotion and anything can happen. We know that we have to play very well. But they are back in a bowl and it is there last game. We know we have another one next week. This is a season of it’s own. Both teams want to win.
I think they have done a heck of a job.
Question – For those juniors and seniors that spent much of their high school years with South Carolina players that had won five straight and coming to a program and wanting to reverse that. How important has it been to get two straight wins against South Carolina, looking for a third?
It has been important because that is a major goal of our program. As much success as we had the first few years that was one things we hadn’t done well with so it was important to our program to do a better job in getting and achieving that goal. We have been able to win a couple here but every year is a new season. You live with this one all year long. Everything is important when you’re trying to build a great program. The guys coming in here that we have recruited they want to be part of a great program. For us it’s about hitting those goals. Some years you come up short and some years you hit them all like last year. This is a new year and new teams on both sides. Obviously they have a new coaching staff and we know it’s going to be a big challenge.
Question – Will you evaluate Ray Ray at punt return this week?
We will go through the week and we will make a decision as we get closer to game time.
Question – Will Artavis be the next guy in?
Yeah, It’s Artavis and Ray Ray and they are the main two guys right now.
Question – Deshaun had a little fun with us last night saying that he is playing coming back for his senior season by ear. Do you think that is in his mind or do you just expect him to go?
I will be sure to save a scholarship for him. I will hold one back just in case.