By Staff Report.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney attended the weekly ACC teleconference with the media on Wednesday.
Good to be with you guys. I’m proud of our team and staff for where we are right now in the season. We have got a lot of work to do. It doesn’t get any easier. Just got another very tough, physical opponent this week. And Boston College is typical BC, they are tough, hard-nosed, well-coached, and you know, five of our last six games against these guys for whatever reason have been (decided by) a touchdown or less.
So they beat us last year up there, and so it’s going to be a tough opponent once again. We are just trying to have a great week of practice and you know just see if we can keep getting better. Home coming for us and we are excited about a lot of people coming back and hopefully we can play well on Saturday.
Q. Can you talk about how you went about reassuring Dwayne Allen when you made the changes in the off-season about what his role would be in this offense, because I guess he had some apprehension about it at first.
COACH SWINNEY: I just talked to him and just told him obviously that I think he’s a great player and he’s a guy that we have been trying to involve since he got here. Just told him, I said, listen, I’m interested in winning. You know, you’re going to have to trust me; that the changes that I’m going to make are going to be the best changes for the program, the team, but that you’re going to be a big part of this. Every thought I have, you’re a big part of it.
This guy is obviously a great weapon. So I wouldn’t be a very smart coach if you had a guy like that and not involve him. And you know, he thankfully trusted us and it’s worked out great. But you know, there was a lot of misperception out there and people create their own perception in putting all kind of garbage on the Internet and all that kind of stuff, create — you spend half your time in this deal dealing with problems that other people create that are not even — they are so far from reality, it’s not even funny. But you end up having to deal with it. And a lot of people, oh, we are going to be five-wides and all this kind of stuff, and just nothing’s further from the truth. We are a power-oriented type of running football team that’s always going to involve a tight end, and especially when you have a great one like we have got in Dwayne Allen.
Q. What was the appeal to Chad’s offense when you decided to hire him? Obviously the league has been hesitant to go in that direction. You see it more in the Big 12 than we do in the ACC. What the was the appeal to you for bringing him in?
COACH SWINNEY: It’s what I wanted to do for a couple of years. The timing of it was perfect. Our quarterback situation was perfect. It’s what we were recruiting to, and it was just a good time to make that change. There was a lot of carryover. There was a lot of similarities from what we were doing before as far as just some of the schematic stuff: The zone, the power, the counter; a lot of those things, there’s a lot of carryover. But I wanted to be able to involve our quarterback more and all of the elements that come with that. I wanted to have an option threat involved in our offense. I really wanted to attack more from a play-action standpoint, especially down the field.
And all of those things were in place with the system that Chad was running and I just felt very confident. I kind of had a checklist of everything I wanted, and as I went through my process and met with Chad, it was check, check, check, check, check, and then it was just a matter of if the chemistry was going to be right. It couldn’t be better. I’m just really happy that it all worked out and we are playing pretty good.
Q. Does that offense work without a player like Tajh or Sammy? We have seen Oregon and Auburn in the National Championship game, some pretty good players and Boston College, which does not exactly have the same personnel as you, or pick another ACC team you are not playing this week; is that one of the reasons why it’s been kind of successful?
COACH SWINNEY: Well, I don’t think, first of all, it doesn’t matter what you do offensively; if your players don’t believe in it, you’re not going to be successful and vice versa. If they believe in it and are totally committed to being great in whatever system you’re running, then you’ve got a chance to be successful. But there’s no question, it all comes down to the personnel. You’ve got to have good players. I mean, listen, we run a lot of the same plays that we have run, but they work a lot better when you have got guys like Sammy Watkins and certainly this type of system, you need a quarterback who is mobile, who can move around and do some things. That is a critical part of what we do, and we are not going to be as effective if we have a guy that can’t move.
So it’s definitely a part of it. But you need speed, because you want to make people defend every patch of grass out on the field and everybody needs speed no matter what system you’re running. So recruiting is the big key to success. You have got to have good players and everybody’s got good coaches. Everybody’s got good coaches out there, and we have been blessed that we have been able to recruit the last couple of years and it’s paying off for us in a big way.
Q. Your defense was pretty impressive there last Saturday is; did you just take step forward with your defense or how do you account for how well you guys played on defense last Saturday?
COACH SWINNEY: We definitely took a step forward. We have been improving. We had, all year long, we had had some really, really good moments where we played very well. But we also had some very shaky moments where we, you know, just didn’t play well in spurts, giving up some big plays, missing some tackles and just doing some things that we can control and improve and we worked hard and we just, like I said, have gotten better, a little bit better in areas each week and I thought we played probably our best game against Florida State. And then we continued that improvement at Virginia Tech. We took another step. And so that was really good to see as far as — they got a lot of yards, but I wasn’t pleased with the amount of yards after contact that they got. But we tackled better. We defended every pass. We were executing the call. We really did a good job with our gaps and all that type of stuff. I mean, really just played a very solid game, and you know, we have had good practices and we have got good leadership over there and some of our young guys are stepping up for us. But that’s the kind of effort and commitment to preparation we have to have every week if we are going to continue to improve.