Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his Sunday teleconference to look back at the win over Louisville. A transcript of the teleconference follows:
“We had a chance to review everything today. I am really proud of our team for how we competed, the effort. It was a tough hard-fought game on the road. I just loved the readiness that I saw, the mental toughness. We played four quarters of football and how we complimented each other, it was really a great win for us. We have three under our belt and have a big opportunity this week, so just put this one to bed. We have a lot of positives obviously when you win a game like that. But believe it or not we sit there and watch the tape as coaches, and we say my gosh, we have to do this better, we have to do this better. There are a lot of things that we can teach from and continue to improve our team. We have a long way to go and a lot of areas that we can improve in.
“Defensively we played a great first three quarters outside of really one bad drive. We did a great job. We had seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss. We played a lot of guys. I think we played everybody that went defensively. I loved the effort, but we had a couple of busts down the end in the fourth quarter. We gave up big plays and just have a lot of things we need to correct — alignments, eyes. We missed more tackles in that game than we have missed all year. We had several mental errors, so there is a lot we can teach from. It was a very good defensive performance, not perfect. Again a lot that we can improve on.
“Offensively just being able to run the football like we were able to is really what makes us go. It creates the explosive plays. I was pleased with what we did on third down, 9-of-17. We were very effective in the red zone. We got our play count up more where it needs to be which allows a lot of guys to touch the ball. I thought Kelly Bryant, again just another opportunity for him to mature and grow. He is just growing up right in front of our eyes. He missed a few plays but really led our team very well. We did have three sacks, two on the line and one on our running back which led to some negative yards. We had a couple of critical penalties and some missed opportunities but we only had one drop.
“But to me right now the area of our team that I am just so proud of is our special teams and what we are getting out of our punt team. Ray-Ray is doing a great job in the return game and possessing the ball. Our kickoff coverage, and it is good to see (Greg) Huegel make a career-long 49-yarder.”
“Injury wise we came through it really good. We have played three tough games. We didn’t have Marcus Edmond obviously. Hopefully we will get him back here soon. But (D.J.) Greenlee is probably going to be out for a little bit here. It looks like a sprained MCL with him. But other than that everyone came through that game pretty well.”
Players of the Game
Offense – Ray-Ray McCloud, Kelly Bryant
Defense – Dorian O’Daniel, Dexter Lawrence
Special Teams – Will Spiers, Jalen Williams
Question – How difficult of a decision was it to go for it on fourth down on the opening drive?
“I knew right from the get-go. As soon as the ball was set, I just said let’s go get this. I felt like if we didn’t make it I was going to be disappointed but we would have them pinned deep. I felt like we could get it. I felt like we should be able to control the line of scrimmage and we did. It was early in the game and just a gut call at the time. I am glad (C.J.) Fuller went and got it for us.”
Question – How does Dexter Lawrence affect the game in ways that don’t show up on the stats sheet?
“Oh man, he was disruptive. He definitely played his best game. He played really, really well. I think he played about 30 something snaps. He had six tackles, an assist, a tackle for loss. He had another couple of quarterback pressures. He just, they can’t move him. He is just disruptive in there. He created opportunities for other players. I am really proud of him.”
Question – What was the key to containing Lamar Jackson last night?
“I think part of it was offensively we kept the ball away from him. I think they had sixty-something snaps. It was just great effort. Guys were ready to play. We didn’t give him any short fields. That was one of our things was make him have to execute all the way down the field. Let’s don’t give up short field positions, turnovers, all that stuff. We won the turnover margin which was big. That was key in the game last year. Last year we had five turnovers and were up 28-10 and had 108 snaps. We had a good plan. We mixed up the calls. We played a little more zone. We missed some tackles now. He is a great player. There is no doubt about it, but I am really proud of those guys.”
Question – What is the key to being so successful on the road, winning 11 in a row?
“Well I just think it’s a mindset. I never really bought into the you’re not supposed to play well on the road stuff. I think if you’re a good player, you are a good player anywhere. It shouldn’t matter where you play. It’s always about how you play. If you’re a good team, you’re a good team anywhere.”
Question – Now that you are three games in, what do you think you have with this football team and has anything surprised you?
“Well I think what I thought I had early on was a hungry team. I have said that to the local guys here a couple of times. You may not think that because you are a team coming off a national championship, but it is a new team, with so many new people. We have enough leadership and enough experience to kind of guide us, but we have so many new guys that I was anxious to see how they would respond. I have just been very encouraged. Right now we are a close team. These guys like each other. We are a team that is hungry. They support and pull for each other. They have been practicing the right way. They have a good edge to them. I think we have the type of depth that as a coach you dream about having. All of a sudden (Tanner) Muse is gone, and you have a freshman and all he does is go in there and lead your team in tackles in Isaiah Simmons. Van Smith is out a game, and K’Von Wallace goes in to play at Auburn. We have some guys that are paying attention to details. Some guys that are taking pride in preparation.”