Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his Sunday teleconference where he discussed the win over Virginia Tech, the latest on injuries and much more!
The film was kind of what I thought it would be. It was a very tough, physical football game. We did just enough on offense to make some plays against a really, really good defense. There were several things that we can improve upon. We obviously had several three and outs there in the second half. I didn’t think out tempo was very good. But they battled and made some crucial plays and critical times.
Defensively that is as good a performance as I have been around. To hold them to three points, no touchdowns for the first time since 1995. We are a young defense that is going to get better. Again, every week we haven’t put all three phases together to where we can be a dominate team. We have been kind of getting it done in two out of the three phases each week and making the five or six plays each week to make a difference. So I am proud of our guys for that.
The thing I am most proud of is I thought physically we won the battle. Our offensive line really did a good job. All five of our guys grades out as winners. We had a couple of slipups throughout the game but our offensive line they answered the call, especially late in the game. We were able to get that big drive going and then the same thing with our defensive line. That game was won at the line of scrimmage. In a ballgame like that if you are going to have a chance to win, especially on the road that is what you have to do.
Defensively we have three tough goals and we hit all of them. We were able to stop the run and the biggest thing is they only averaged 3.5 per pass. That was a big factor in the game, that we made them one dimensional. We created pressure, got sacks and created some turnovers.
We are 5-0 and that is great. That is a place we haven’t been in a long time. I am happy for our fans and our team and all that. Our focus is really 100 percent on winning our division right now. The best thing we can do to try to accomplish that goal is to get to 3-0 this week. It is a conference game. It is homecoming. Our players will be excited to get back out there with the fans after being on the road now. This Boston College is a team that has really created some problems for us so we have to have another good week, keep focused on trying to get better.
Again, I don’t think we are a great team. We are just a team that compliments each other and finds a way to win.
Q. Do you downplay the rankings?
We don’t even discuss rankings. We don’t even talk about that stuff. As I’ve said a couple of times ask me in December then I’ll have a comment. The same thing for our team. All we are in 5-0. If we lay an egg this week people forget about that real quick. We need to move forward and stay focused on the task at hand and just continue to do what we have been doing. These guys have been doing a good job with that. That stuff means nothing. You can fall a lot quicker than you can climb. We are just trying to win this game. Come December we will see where we are and those rankings may mean something then.
Q. How do you refocus with all of the attention?
The same way we have kept them focused from the start of the season. Just like you don’t listen to all the negativity. People telling you what you are, what you aren’t, what you can’t do and all that irrelevant noise. You don’t pay attention to the positive either. All of a sudden the bandwagon is full and everybody is telling you your good and this and that. None of that stuff matters. You can’t allow that stuff to affect your performance, good or bad. We just need to stay focused to what we do as a team and here is what we do on Monday, here is what we do on Tuesday.
I kind of prepared the team for this the whole season. I told the team before the season we were on the verge of great things at Clemson and at some point we are going to have success. I think our guys have done a good job so far. We will just keep hammering away with that message
Q. You’ve been waiting all season for the defense to join the party. Did you imagine the defense could play so well?
I knew we were getting better. I thought we got better against Florida State. You can see their confidence growing. We have a lot of guys that are developing on that side of the ball. I just think obviously to play that kind of game in that kind of environment against a team that was playing good football that will go a long way for our confidence. We are still a work in progress. We are going to try to get better each week. By the end of the season hopefully we will be a team in the hunt.
Q. Talk about the reception the team got last night when you got back to Clemson?
It was unbelievable. I have never seen anything like that. I’m not sure how many people were here but there were at least 1,000 I would say. It was awesome. It was 2:30 or 3:00 morning to see those fans like that. It was special. It is something I will never forget. That is what it is all about. Our fans deserve it. Our fans deserve to have a winning football team and I am just happy to be part of it. I was just very thankful for the support and I know our team was as well.
Q. Injuries Updates?
Benton does not look good. We will get more confirmation tomorrow. He does not look good. It was his shoulder.
Breeland looked pretty good today. He will probably be out tomorrow. Danny Poole our trainer thinks he might be back on Tuesday based on how he looked today but you just never know.
Meeks looks like he will be alright. We just have some bumps and bruises but nothing that is going to keep him out of the game or anything like that.
Q. Will Catanzaro be the kickoff guy if Benton can’t go?
We will discuss it this week. Dawson has been our backup guy, but we didn’t feel like he was ready for that the other night. Catanzaro hasn’t really practiced that other than in camp. We will look at it this week and base it on how they do in practice.
Q. What did you see out of Branch last night?
He was relentless. His effort was tremendous. His technique was very good. He played the run very good. He had 39 production points, 10 tackles, four sacks, five tackles for loss, a caused fumble, two big hits, a third down stop and a fourth down stop. He was all over the field. He provided great leadership and great energy. The biggest thing is he won his matchup. They had a couple of different guys in there trying to block him. He played with great technique. You put great technique with great talent and great effort you usually get a good result and that is what happened.
Q. Talk about the decision to play Lateek?
We have been talking about it. He is a physically talented guy. We felt like he could help us in special teams. We made the decision to go ahead and play him and get him grown up a little bit this year. We just think he is going to be a heck of a player. You can win a game on special teams and that may be his main role this year. We felt like he could make a difference for us. He went down and had a good tackle last night so hopefully that will be something that you will continue to see him grow in that role. We also felt like at some point he may be able to help us from a pass rush standpoint.
Q. Talk about Stephone Anthony?
He is really improving. He played 29 snaps. He made a few rookie mistakes but he is a special talent and is getting better and better. He has ice water in his veins. He is starting to play with confidence. He has great range. He is a good tackler. We are real pleased with his progress. I think you will continue to see him in there more and more.