Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney spoke with the ACC media on Wednesday. Coach Swinney discussed the win over Troy, Rashard Hall’s injury and looked forward to the game with Wofford.
We are coming off a good opening win, and it’s good to play a game and I think we can certainly get better. We have got a lot to learn from this first game and a lot of mistakes, correctible mistakes, especially from some of our younger guys. So we look forward to playing again this week and trying to just improve.
It’s military appreciation day here at Clemson and that’s always a special time here with our military heritage. It should be a great day as we play Wofford.
Injury-wise, we are in pretty good shape. We have got one guy right now that’s doubtful and that’s Rashard Hall. Other than that, we are all hands on deck.
Q. What was the biggest difference offensively between the first and second half?
Just settling down, execution. Tajh did not play very well in the first half, and he really was just kind of tight for some reason, and I don’t know if – just kind of opening game or whatever but he really settled down at the half and we just executed so much better in the second half and put it all together. Defensively it was a pretty solid all day.
In the second half, I thought the game got better as we went as a team and held them to three points and really just kind of unloaded offensively in the second half. So that was good to see, but that was the biggest thing, just execution.
Q. What did you or Chad say to Tajh at the half or at any point to calm him down and get him on track?
We just talked about, you know, just kind of went over things that happened in the first half and said, hey, listen, just settle down and just stick to the basics. Put your eyes on the right things, just focus on the process and not get caught up in other things.
Everybody take a deep breath here and let’s go be who we are and let’s just do what we do. We have got to start converting some third downs, and we are going to get a rhythm and that was it.
There wasn’t anything – it wasn’t a time to get mad or anything like that. It was just really more, listen, hey, listen, settle down and just do what you’re coached to do, and everything’s going to be fine.
Q. You got three field goals from Catanzaro
That’s the Cat Man.
Q. Cat Man. Tell me what you saw in that aspect of the kicking game. Obviously you had to be pleased with those results.
Definitely, it was great to see that, and he really hit some pressure kicks for us that first half to keep us in it. Really proud of him. But that’s how he’s performed in practice, and I think he’s just a very mentally tough young man that had a tough year last year, and now he’s, you know, just growing up and maturing before our eyes.
Hopefully he will continue to do his job, but the snap was very consistent by Fajgenbaum, and our holder, Spencer Benton, did a great job, and he just seems to have a lot more confidence. Last year was the first time, you know, he had been out in that type of game environment. He did a small school in high school and just had some tough moments. But we are going to need those type of performances from him as we move forward if we are going to have a better season this year.
Q. How to you keep your team focused on Wofford this weekend?
Well we have just committed to a standard of best. We talk about that all the time. Listen, hey, everybody’s got to be committed to doing their best. And really, you either – you either perform and work to that standard or you don’t. It shouldn’t matter who you play. We can’t all of a sudden next week, we are going to play Auburn and say, all right, we are going to really try hard. If that’s the way we are going to be, then you’re going to have a lot of inconsistency.
Q. What did you think of Stephone Anthony’s debut, and are you looking at red-shirting Eric MacLain?
We are looking at red-shirting Eric. We like him. We think he’s going to be a very good player. We have some depth at his position with a couple of older guys right now, and we are trying to hold him. That’s the plan there.
As far as Stephone, he was just outstanding. His debut in, my eyes, was kind of like Sammy Watkins debut on the offensive side of the ball. Just really played well. Had a sack, had a pass break up that was almost an interception. You know, plays very fast, very smart, and just really, you know, got his career going in a very strong fashion n Saturday.
Q. With Hall and the possibility of surgery you mentioned yesterday, is that something he’s going to address after the season or a decision that might have to be made during the season?
Well, as I was saying yesterday, it’s really hard to answer that. At some point he’s going to have to have it fixed and when he does that he’s going to be out about six weeks. So obviously he wants to make that – prolong that and the interesting thing about it is he doesn’t have a lot of pain. He feels like he can go play. It’s just going to be a decision that’s based on how his knew responds to playing. As I said we are going to hold him this week. We have this special brace that’s coming in tomorrow.
I want to see him practice. He’s going to try to play against Auburn and it’s either going to swell up, or it’s not, because it really didn’t swell up after this game. He could have kept playing. So that’s going to determine, if this brace helps and there’s no swelling or anything like that, then obviously he wants to keep playing.
But you know, if we have a reaction, then we’ll probably go ahead and do the surgery. But obviously we want to do it later rather than sooner. But even yesterday he ran with the team and looked good and feels good, but there’s something that at some point it’s going to have to be repaired.