Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his Sunday teleconference where he looked back at the victory over Wofford and looked ahead to the rematch with Auburn.
Well I think that we have learned a lot from this tape. Our goal was to be 2-0 and at this point and that is where we are. We have to continue to improve as a football team in all areas. I am encouraged by the effort that I am seeing. There are just some things that we have to improve on if we are going to be able to matchup with a team like Auburn. That is for sure.
Players of the game for us were Andre Ellington on offense, Rennie Moore on defense and Dawson Zimmerman on special teams.
I thought offensively it has been a long time since I have been disappointed with 464 yards of offense, but we left something out there. We are leaving a little bit of meat on the bone on both sides of the ball. We are just having some misplays. I thought our quarterback really improved from week one to week two. He played a very solid game. We had some protection issues. That was the biggest problem that we had. They are very correctable. It is more about being on our assignments.
I like what I am seeing from some of our skill guys. We are going to develop some weapons as we continue to play here. It was good to see Andre have the kind of game he had. With the guys we have at tight end and receiver I am very encouraged about our potential. I thought third down was very good.
We had no turnovers. That is a huge, huge emphasis that we have made from day one. Any time you can win that turnover margin and complete more big plays than your opponent you have a good chance to win. That is two weeks in a row that we have done that. It was good to see us offensively finish the game at the end. Again there is a lot of improvement that we will have to do from this film.
Defensively the biggest disappointment was they only completed two passes for 157 yards. That was frustrating. We had some bust big plays whether it was a missed tackle or we just blew an assignment. That is an area we have to continue to improve upon. We are going to do some things in practice this week hopefully to continue to emphasize that. We just had some assignment things.
I thought we did a really good job on No. 7. I was really worried about that guy coming in but it ended up being the quarterback that hurt us the most. At the end of the day we had a huge fourth down stop. We got better as the game went. They didn’t score a touchdown I the second half. And they played with really, really good effort. I was glad to see that on film.
Special teams was some issues with our field goal execution as far as we dropped a snap, we didn’t execute the fake field goal and we missed a field goal. Then they had the fake punt on us where we did not force the punt. Punt protection was good, coverage has been good. I thought our return game was better. Sammy looks like he is going to be a guy that is going to be a difference maker for us there.
We are 2-0 and have a big test this week with Auburn. We are at it full speed right now.
Q. Given all you have learned from the first two games do you get a since you guys are ready for this tough stretch?
It is a bigger challenge the next 10 games. We have a lot of work to do. Again all you can do is measure where you are. We are a team that is a work in progress and that is how it is going to be for a little bit. But we are very capable and have a lot of potential. If they will continue to give the kind of effort that they have and keep showing up. We have to do a great job of coaching them up. We will see if we can find a way to keep winning. That is the bottom line. We will find out Saturday if we are ready for the next step.
Q. Are you considering any personnel moves on your offensive line?
Not really, I am the most disappointed in David Smith. He did not play well. Mason is probably a guy that you may see in there playing a little bit more. Brandon Thomas is a guy that we have to get something out of at some point, but even if it is putting him inside. The biggest thing is we just have to do a better job in a couple of areas with those guys. We are confident that we have a good first group. I am confident that they can certainly play better than they did on Saturday. Without a doubt I was disappointed in those guys. It was really more assignment, than effort or anything like that. But stuff that really shouldn’t happen. But we will go back to work on Monday. We will have a physical Tuesday and Wednesday.
Q. How did you feel about the lines physicality and how they got pushed around?
I thought they tried to be a little more physical then they were the first week. It is still not what we want, but at the end of the day we had 462 yards and really over 500 yards because we lost 45 yards on the sacks. Two of them were legit sacks where we just got beat. The others were assignment where we turned guys completely loose. That was the most disappointing thing. But we ran the ball pretty effectively. The 4th and 1 was 100 percent on our tight end. Our tight end just didn’t block the C gap and the guy runs right through and hits us in the backfield. We are lucky we didn’t fumble. They are going to get better.
Q. Is playing as many freshmen as you are on defense contributing to the tackling issues or are you having as much trouble with veterans?
Well a little bit of both. Meeks is a guy that we consider a veteran and he didn’t tackle very well. He played a really good game outside of about three really poor tackles. We have some young guys as well that just have to keep playing themselves into the kind of players we want them to be. Last week we didn’t have a lot of missed, tackles we just had some glaring ones but yesterday we had more. That was the most disappointing thing. The other thing was we had several guys out yesterday. We were pretty thin in the secondary. We got exposed a little bit there.
Any injury updates?
I think Tony is okay. He looked fine today. Buice had a little mild concusion. He might be day to day. Branch had a separation in his thumb. Nothing broken or anything like that. He should be fine.
Do you take anything from last year’s game with Auburn?
We have a lot of guys on this team that have lined up and competed against the team that won the national championship. I think you always draw on your experience. Certainly all of those guys on the offensive line, all the guys on the defensive line, Andre Ellington, Nuke Hopkins, Dwayne Allen, Diehl…We have quite a few guys that have the memories of playing against that team last year. I think they can draw some confidence from that because they feel like they can lineup and play with anybody. We came the closest to beating them last year. We were the only team to take them to overtime. But you have to give them a lot of credit. They keep finding a way to win.
Q. Are you satisfied with the offensive pace?
At times yes. At times it has been pretty good. We are still a work in progress. We are still not consistent like we need to be.
Q. Do you still expect to get Rashard Hall back this week?
Yes he is going to definitely try to play. We almost put him in the game Saturday but we did not do it. He will practice all week. This brace seems to be pretty effective so hopefully he will have a good week of practice and he will play well.