Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his Sunday teleconference to discuss his thoughts on the 58-21 victory over Presbyterian and the upcoming game with Auburn.
I thought we had a good clean game yesterday, especially the first half.
Defensively the thing I was most pleased with is last week we had some of our key guys McDaniel, Branch, Maxwell, Rashard Hall, Corico. Those are young guys we are counting on and I didn’t think that group played very well. It was a big challenge for them this week. They really played a good football game. Branch got player of the week. I am really pleased with how they played. The game got out of hand and we substituted a lot of guys late in the game. Our first group really did a good job.
On special teams we created a turnover. That is great to see. We blocked a punt. A guy caused a fumble on a kickoff and we blocked a punt. Dawson had another solid day. It was good to see Catman get his first field goal of 47 yards.
Overall it was a good day. Our emphasis was working on Clemson and to get better. I think we did that. I think we accomplished our goal.
We got a lot of young guys significant playing time that I think will be extremely valuable to them.
Certainly there are a lot of things we can improve upon too. As we watched the film and learn from it. Offensively there are several things that we can get better at. Stances and starts and footwork and different things.
KP played very well. Tajh got 34 snaps. I thought he did really well for a rookie getting his first significant real playing time. The first group on the offensive line was really solid. They had no sacks. Another thing I am proud of is they had to prepare for a lot of stuff and they did a good job of picking some stuff up.
Jamie and Ellington did not play a whole lot, but Rod got some action and made some big plays. It was good to see him and a guy like Barnes get an opportunity and to play well with the opportunity.
Several of our receivers made some plays. We are still seeing some guys do some good things there.
Overall a good day. It was good to have Miguel back out there. I thought he played pretty solid. Brandon had a good day. Corico had his best day since he has been here at Clemson.
We will learn from it and get ready for this next one. We will have to be much better to go win at Auburn. We are glad to be 2-0. Hopefully we can just keep getting smarter.
Based on what you have seen from Jamie and Andre do they have the potential to be the next Thunder and Lightning?
Oh absolutely. They are good football players now. There is no doubt. They are very talented. They are blue collar, humble, just tough hard work ethic kind of guys. They like to practice. They like to compete. They both had great offseasons. Maturity wise they are just at another level. A lot of that comes with the fact that they know this is their time. Absolutely I think they are going to rise up and have an excellent year for us.
What do they need to improve on against tougher competition like Auburn?
They have not really been challenged yet against an opponent for 60 minutes. They need to be able to sustain throughout the game the physical play that we want. That is the thing I am looking for from them. They did a lot of good things against North Texas. They averaged 9.8 yards per rush. We didn’t have the ball a whole lot. They will have to play a lot more snaps as we move forward with this schedule. For example I think Jamie only played about ten snaps and Ellington played six snaps on Saturday. They will have to be ready to go the distance. We are getting ready to play eight conference games sandwiched by two SEC teams. They are going to have to prove their salt.
Do you expect Brandon and Jarvis to play this week?
Yes. Jarvis probably could have played. Like I said last week we were really going to air on the side of caution. He will be ready to go. And Brandon Maye we are cutting him back loose and going to get him ready to play. The only one questionable right now is Phillip Price. He looked good today and had minimal swelling in his ankle. We will evaluate him again tomorrow. By Tuesday we will know more on him, but we are leaning towards upgrading him over the next couple of days.
How did you fix the defensive problems from North Texas?
Well really good. We watched all of those plays with the guys in the first group. I think those guys were good. They did a super job. Our communication was much better, but the biggest thing was to see people tackle better and we did that. We really tackled. Guys reacted to things better. We contained better. W didn’t have some of the busts that we had in the first game. They came to play. They spent the week with everybody talking bad about them. That humbled them a little bit. Hopefully they will be ready to go this week. It is going to be a much bigger challenge than what they have seen so far this season getting ready for this Auburn bunch.
What is your take on some of the other scores around the league?
There were sure some disappointed folks in our conference. Any time you lose ball games especially when it is to people that you are suppose to beat. Those are some of the lessons that you learn in football. I am sure you are talking about Virginia Tech and James Madison. James Madison is a good football team and well coached but I would say they let Boise beat them twice. That is one of the things you have to always guard against is not letting a tough loss beat you again. Also not letting a big win cost you. There are some crazy things going on in college football right now. In particularly we probably haven’t done as well as we had hoped in the league in out of conference game. But you know one game doesn’t break a season. It is a long season and there is a lot of football left. They are not going to cancel the year for anybody after a couple of ball games. I am just concerned about Clemson to be honest with you. I am just trying to keep us on a positive track and keep us getting better each week and hopefully put together a really good year.
What are your thoughts on Cam Newton?
You would have to be in a cage to not have seen some of him. He is a big old joker. He is 250ish. He looks like Donte Cullpepper. He is just a big man that can run the football and he has a great arm. He has all of the tools. It will be a really difficult task for us. When you have a guy like that it is like you are playing will twelve out there on offense.
What are your thoughts on Game Day?
I didn’t know until about two minutes ago when I was walking in here. Tim told me. There must be some slim pickings out there this week I guess. We will try to go out and do a good job and put on a good show for everybody. Any time you have the opportunity to have your program showcased on national TV whether it is at home or away I think it is a great opportunity for you to make a positive statement. Hopefully we will play well.