Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his Sunday teleconference where he discussed the loss to North Carolina.
Obviously it was a disappointing game yesterday. We are coming off of three tough, tough losses. It has been a difficult few weeks here, but we have to keep on keeping on and go back to work tomorrow. We will see if we can fix some of the mistakes we are having. We are going to do a better job.
There were some positives yesterday. Offensively there were no sacks. I thought Kyle Parker played his best game of the year. He was player of the game. He was 21-38 and we had five drops. And there were a few throw aways like the last play. He was outstanding.
I think we found some answers at receiver. We were better on 3rd down. We had no turnovers. That was really good. Last week we had the turnover issue and we focused on correcting that. We needed to throw and catch better and we did that.
Defensively it was the lowest total offense of the year. We were very good on third downs. It was the best we have done so far in regards to the run. I thought we cut down on the big plays. We just gave up two big plays and we cut down on the mental errors. DaQuan continues to be a really productive player for us. I think he is third in the nation in tackles for loss. He is fourth in the nation in sacks. As a team we are second in the nation in tackles for loss.
There are a lot of things that we have to get better on. We have got to continue to work on several things. Offensively we had too many drives where we got nothing. We had some good drives, 8 plays, 9 plays 11 plays where we came away with nothing.
We still had a few drops. The personal foul was critical early in the game. Those are things that are within our control. I think we need to make sure that we have to make sure that we are doing the right things with the right people. Defensively we need to continue to cut down on big plays. We gave up two. One was on second and ten and we gave up a 50 plus yard play. That was just a guy coming out of the backfield. The 2nd and 19 was a big play. It was a big touchdown in the fourth quarter. We just missed two tackles. We had a big hit on the play. We just didn’t wrap up. We were in position. It wasn’t like we busted or anything. That was an improvement on what we have been doing.
The biggest disappointment was the defense in the 4th quarter. The offense and the defense did very well in the third quarter and took the momentum back. We came out after halftime and made some good adjustments and got the momentum back. We go down and score and it is a 14-10 game we only had ball 1:45 in the 4th quarter. They kept it for 13:15 seconds. It is hard to win that way. They were 4-4 on fourth down. They really did not run the ball effectively on us until the end. 5:25 to go and it is a 21-16 game and we just couldn’t get a stop. Those are things that we have to get fixed. The same thing in the redzone. We have to try to hold them to field goals.
We have a lot to get better at. That is what we will do. Right now we are finding a way to lose. We have to help them as coaches and that is what we are going to do.
Three tough losses but that doesn’t change who we are. I think we are doing a lot of the right things. We have good players and coaches. We will get this heading in the right direction. What we have to do is win a game and we will go from there. If we learned anything from last year it is not to panic. We have to make sure that we have good leadership. We just have to find a way to win and go from there. We need to make sure we control what we can control. We still have a chance to be a good team. There is still a lot of ball to be played so we will keep on keeping on.
Offensively do you feel like you are doing the right things with the right people?
I think we have found some answers at receiver. Nuke Hopkins made a lot of plays. He missed a couple and looked like a freshman at times on film with some things that you might not notice. He is going to be a special player. He is just going to get better and better. Jaron Brown the same thing. We feel the same thing with BrYce. Those guys are going to do some good things for us. Dwayne Allen is doing good things.
I do think we have to get Ellington some more touches. He has been our most explosive player and we need to get him the ball more.
Last week Billy said that you had to make sure Andre had chance to impact the game and win it. Do you feel like you did that Saturday?
We didn’t really get in the rhythm that we wanted to. We had the most penalties that we have had here in five years. We focused on turnovers and big plays and all of a sudden we get in the ballgame and we have nine penalties. That is just a tough deal. We got away from our zone stuff a little bit.
We have to make sure 23 gets more touches. He has earned it. He has been productive so we have to do a better job there. Again that is on me. I have to make sure it happens.
Was there something that steered you away from zone stuff?
No and again it is not like we had a lot of three and outs. We had a lot of good drives. If you go back and look at it we had four sky punts on their side of the field. We were just stalling out.
They did a good job up front of doing some good one gap movement type stuff. They are good players. They have a very good defense. Their linebackers are outstanding. We knew it would be a hard fought battle. We just didn’t make a few extra plays. The biggest thing is in the fourth quarter we just didn’t have the ball. 1:45 seconds is all we had. I thought we got some things going in the third quarter. We were able to create a little bit of momentum and turn it in our favor. Then all of a sudden we only get it for 1:45 in the fourth quarter. You stand over there and you can’t get any kind of rhythm.
How do you correct the focus?
We make sure we first of all keep our confidence. The last thing you want is to have guys uptight and afraid to make a mistake. We have had mistakes across the board. It is not one guy or one thing. We have to have instant accountability in practice. We need to make sure we do not panic. It has been three really difficult losses. Nobody wants to hear it but you have a few plays and you could have won any of those games. We haven’t made those plays. And when it is two good teams playing it is always a few plays. Right now we aren’t making those few plays. We have got to get 11 guys that play every play to win that play. If we do then we are going to win. We have to make that commitment. Every single on of us. I know this team. We will come together. I believe we will all hang tough and we will rise up.
Are you worried about confidence of team?
Well sure, absolutely. These are young people. I am sure there is a lot of negativity out there. We have to make sure they are listening to the right things and that they don’t lose their confidence. They are working hard. This is a good group of guys. I know what we have here. We have good young men that have a lot of character and talent and they have worked extremely hard. I want to make sure we handle them the right way and they just keep at it because it is going to turn. We are a team that is not getting a lot of breaks either. We aren’t getting many breaks at all. That is a tough thing. The guys are playing every game. They are playing until the end. They are just not winning.
Did you have any new injuries?
No, that was another positive. We came through the game pretty good. We should get David
Smith back in practice tomorrow and he is ready to go. He was available if we needed him Saturday. I wish we could have won the game, but good to get him back this week.