Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held a press conference with the ACC media on Wednesday.
“We’re probably like everyone else out there, just excited it’s finally game week and anxious to see our team play somebody else and get a real guage of where we are. Troy is a tough opener for us, and it’s a program that I’ve got a lot of respect for and know a lot about, and it certainly will be a big challenge for us. But we are excited about cranking this thing up this week and having a good season.”
Q. It seemed like Boyd’s numbers in the scrimmages this summer were better and more consistent than they were this spring. What was the difference for him?
“Well, first of all, we had about 30-something guys that were with our football team that weren’t there in the spring due to injuries, and we brought in 27 new players. So that’s probably the biggest thing. And this spring was the first time we had had installation as far as with this new system. After 15 days of spring ball, Tajh is one of those guys that really worked very hard this summer in taking ownership of this offense, and he came back even much better. And I thought he had a really good spring, but he came back, as we challenged him to, better than he was when spring ended. Proud of him for that. And then we’ve got some really good players in here, young players that I think are going to make a difference for us. I think all those things have helped with his performance.”
Q. What do you want to see most from the offense in the opener? I guess just what are some concerns and what are you excited about to see from this new offense?
“Well, I want to just see us play smart and execute. I mean, that’s really what it is all about. We’ve got good players, we’ve got good coaches. It’s about execution, and I want to see us go out and play the game the way we’ve practiced. We’ve had good focus, we’ve had excellent preparation. These guys have been very dialed in on trying to get better everyd day, and you know, we’ve set a standadrd, and I want to see us play to that standard. So that’s really the biggest thing. Just avoid some of those first game things that sometimes you see a lot when you turn the TV on; take care of the football, no stupid penalties, be clean with our procedures and so forth.”
Q. I was wondering from the beginning of fall campu up until the even of your first game if there’s anybody who had really progressed beyond what you expected?
“We’ll, I mean, I think we’ve got several guys that are worthy of mentioning, but if I had to say one guy, it would be Sammy Watkins, and that’s just because he’s a true freshman that’s been here for a few weeks. I knew he was going to be a really good player, but I just have been blown away by his ability to not just learn the offense, but his work ethic, his attention to detail. He’s way beyond his years, very polished guy, studies, takes great notes. I mean, just about his business all the time, and that’s a very uncommon ting for a true freshman. He’d be the guy that has surprised me, again, noth that he’s a good player, but the whole package that he’s got.”
Q. Do you kind of daydream about that first play on Saturday?
“Well, I just want it to be a positive play. I know what we’re opening up with, as we kind of have our plan set and ready to go. But just, again, to go back to what I said earlier, I just want to see us execute and take care of the football. Every play is designed to score, but hopefully we’ll have the same result that Andre had last year, and he’ll be able to take it to the house again. Again, the main thing is just to have a good positive play and stay on schedule.”
Q. Is Jonathan Massaquoi somebody that coners you this week?
“Yeah, he concerns me. He had 13.5 sacks last year. He’s to be a concern to anybody they play this year. He’s probably as good a guy as we’ll see all year. Outstanding prospect. He’ll be an NFL guy, and they’ve had some good ones come out of Troy in the DeMarcus WAre, and the guy from the Giants, Osi Umenyiora. They had some pretty good D-linemen up there. He’s definitely right in line with those guys, and he’s a guy that we are very well aware of, and we’ll have to have a plan for him if he’s having success with his pass rush.”
Q. Are you in a position where you can maybe script some of these guys that are going to get a certain number of snaps Saturday?
“No, you don’t want to. The big thing is, and the difference from your fall camp, is you do a lot of wholesale substitutions in fall camp. You’ve got your first group, your second group, and you’re working on certain reps and things like that. But in a game it’s not necessarily like that. You have to be smart with how you substitute, and hopefully some of those guys will play — when they are playing with some of the starters, those guys will help them.”