Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his Sunday teleconference where he discussed the loss to Miami and the changes needed to get the Tigers back on track.
We had a chance to spend day reviewing the tape and meeting with the staff. We are not where we want to be right now with two losses and we had the opportunity to win both games. We have to get back to work. The good thing is our mistakes are correctable. It’s not like we aren’t capable of this or that. Offensively it was turnovers and that is what cost us the game there. And not making the plays that are there. Defensively it was kind of feast or famine. We played really, really good at times. Obviously those three uncontested plays were huge in the first half. We have to get it fixed. It is hard to win that way.
We are doing some things well. We are playing tough. We are playing physical. We are a talented team right now, but we are just not good because we are just making some mistakes to beat ourselves. If we can stop those self inflicted wounds we have a chance to be a championship team. At the same time one thing we know about us right now is that we are not a top 20 team.
We have a lot of ball left. We lost to Auburn and Miami and we hope to play them again down the road. The fact of the matter is we had six turnovers and three busted touchdowns and still had a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter so there are some positives to take from it. But we have to move on and make sure our players understand the reality and take the opportunity that we have in this difficult time and stay steady.
We still control our own destiny. There are still a lot of things to play for. All of our goals are still there. We just need to try to have a little more consistency in our performance and be resilient. That is the big thing and bounce back. That is what resiliency is the ability to bounce back from adversity. We need to try to keep on keeping on and keep working on the things that we can control. That is what we will do. We will go back to work tomorrow. I am anxious to get with the team at 6:30 in the morning and watch some film and get ready for North Carolina.
We have another big challenge for us going up there. They are coming off a win. They are a good football team.
Those three busted plays in the first half, where those new coverages?
No, that is what is frustrating. It was about as basic as you could get. In fact the first two touchdowns were the same play. We just busted it. We have to get it fixed.
It was really more about what our eyes were doing than anything else. We have a safety that is supposed to be over the top instead he is trying to do someone else’s job. Everyone needs to do their own job. It was a very simple play. It was a simple call. It was something we have done a thousand times. We just didn’t execute.
We have to coach it better. We have to get it right. Our job is to try to learn from it. Hopefully it doesn’t cost us again somewhere down the road.
The sense of the character of this team going into the game was that it wouldn’t make so many mistakes in one game. What allowed the team to step out of character?
I wish I knew because I would make sure it wouldn’t happen again. I certainly never saw that coming. Like I said yesterday we were one of the best teams in the nation in turnover margin. We led the conference. I never saw six turnovers coming, three fumbles and three picks. We had one really bad interception and two of them were kind of flaky. The fumbles have to be corrected. We have to take care of the ball.
After watching the film what did you see from the receivers?
We got to get better. We have to coach them better. We have to make the plays that are there. KP was off in the first half, but he came back in the second half and put the balls on the money and then all of a sudden we stop making plays. You will see a little change this week from a rep standpoint. Hopefully we will see some improvement, but you have to throw and catch to win.
Will the changes include Jaron and Nuke getting more time?
You will see. We have to get Jaron more touches. Nuke did a good job. Even as bad as we played it was 27-21 in the third quarter and we have a chance to drive to take the lead. We hit Nuke on a 20 yard gain and we have a fumble. He will learn from that. We overcome that and get right back down there again and we don’t make the 4th down conversion. There guy made a big play. Nuke and Jaron and BrYce McNeal is another guy that I thinks deserves more opportunity. Marquan has been pretty steady for us. When it is a competitive situation you have to take advantage of your opportunities. I just think that we have to make sure we have a few guys that are getting more touches than they have been getting.
Any other areas where you are anticipating personnel changes?
Not right now. We have to do a better job of substituting people. I think that is something that we have to do a better job of. I have to do a better job of managing our personnel. We have a few guys that I think are playing a lot of snaps. We have good backups that we need to sub in there a little bit more. We have to improve in that area.
Was there a specific reason why Kyle was so off in the first half?
No, he had a bad day. He is not perfect. He has not had many bad ones. Yesterday was not a good half for him. Again in the second half he gave us a chance to win the game. We just didn’t get it done.
Did you consider giving Tajh a chance?
Well if he had continued to play bad we probably would have definitely done that. He came out humming in the third quarter. He threw his first deep ball on the money and he responded well to the halftime. Our team did in general. We took the momentum back in the third quarter. And again we had a chance to take the lead in the third quarter. There were some opportunities that were there.
Defensively we gave up 100 yards and three points and most of those yards came on that last drive. We had a couple of questionable things happen there that I think impacted that drive.
We will regroup and we know what we have to do. The biggest thing for us is to stick together.
There is a perception and a reality. We need to make sure that we are all on the same page. One thing I did see is I saw no quit. Our guys played hard for four quarters. We have talent. If we continue to stay the course we are going to win some games and become the team that we are capable of being. I feel confident in that.
Does this team have the same character as the team that started 2-3 last year and then went on the six game winning streak to win the division?
We are going to find out. We are going to go play the games. Again with all of those mistakes when they went up at the end our guys were laying it on the line. That is a great characteristic to have in a football team. There is no quit at all and they kept playing. As long as we continue to get that we are going to be fine.
Any injury updates? How is Corico?
I think Corico is okay. We had a pretty long list today of guys banged up with bruises. We will see how they do. There is nobody right now that I anticipate missing a game or anything like that. We will get a full report on some more guys in the morning after we get a couple of results back from some tests and stuff.