Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his Sunday teleconference where he discussed the win over Wake Forest and looked against to the South Carolina game.
Looking at the film today it was a very solid win for us. I am just proud of our staff for getting the team back and getting a win on the road. Obviously our guys were ready to play. To go where we were a week earlier to beating Wake with the largest margin of victory since 1978 is a testament to our staff and the character of our team. We got some confidence heading into this ballgame. Offensively we were able to get some big plays. Definitely we had to defend a lot of stuff in the game. They really did a lot of different things.
Our defensive line and the way it continues to play is a big plus. I’m really happy for Catman. He has now hit four in a row. He hasn’t had a great year, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a strong finish.
We are excited about moving on to South Carolina. It is the last home game. South Carolina is a huge game for everybody involved. We look forward to playing at 7.
How does it feel to have things reversed from last year Clemson was waiting to play in the championship game?
It is similar in that they won their division and we have not. They were 6-5 and we are 6-5. That’s all similar but that doesn’t really matter. It’s about the game on Saturday and who will take care of the ball and execute. That’s what it will come down to for us. For us to win we have to continue to play well on defense. We need to get a spark on special teams and secure the ball on offense.
How about Marcus Lattimore’s impact when he has been healthy?
You are going to be at your best when your best players are in the game. He’s a really good player and has made a big impact on their team. The quarterback is playing well for them. They are playing well on the offensive line and they have good receivers. They’re probably the most balanced team that we have seen. We will have to score touchdowns to have a chance to win this game.
Any update on Andre Ellington?
We don’t know yet. We’ll make a decision on Tuesday. Hopefully he will continue to get better and be ready to give it a go. I won’t know until tomorrow night or Tuesday.
Will he have the surgery this week if he can’t go?
Yes we have already scheduled the surgery. We won’t prolong it another month if he can’t go this week.
How do you think Tajh played on Saturday?
He did fine. It was good to see him out there managing the game. He made a couple of bad decisions. He freelanced a few times and got away from his fundamentals, but all in all a good day. Just some fundamental things, some drops, taking a three-step and not a five-step drop. It was good to see him get out there and have to play and we just let him play. We didn’t try to manage things at all. He did a good job for us.
Is it hard to keep your team focused if you have a conference title game the next week?
I don’t think so. The state championship is enough focus. It always will be. Hopefully we’ll be able to win our division again. There may be a day where we are both division champs. This game is huge. It’s a big deal for both programs, the state and everybody involved. If you have a game a week afterwards it shouldn’t matter. That is how I see it. Many times as a coach and player at Alabama we were Western division champs but I can assure you we weren’t thinking about the title game. We were focused on beating Auburn.
Do you like the game at the end of the season?
I do. I am a traditional guy. I think it is good. I think it is a great way to end the year.
How do you handle Alshon Jeffery?
We will have our hands full. He’s a good player. They’re very good on offense. They do a lot of things and have over the course of the season. Garcia has stepped up and has matured and is a very solid player. They run the ball effectively and they have certain things they do every single game that you can count on and they are going to take some shots with the deep ball.
What is the biggest difference this year and why you are 6-5?
I think it is a few kicks. It is 6-12 inside the 20 going into yesterday’s game. Simple as that. You can’t be 50 percent on field goals in that range. That is just reality. We knew we would lack some experience. We had some playmakers but it is not like having seniors who have been around. The biggest thing is we have not had a big margin of error. It is about being unproductive in the kicking game. We haven’t come away with points at times. We could have easily picked up more wins had we been more productive there.