By Staff Report.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his weekly teleconference with the ACC Media where he discussed the No. 5 Tigers.
COACH SWINNEY: Quickly. Just tough Georgia Tech team that we see every year and it’s another big challenge for us, especially to have to go down there on the road. Great environment to go play in. Always a challenge when you’re facing these guys with what they do on offense. They put just a ton of pressure on you every single snap and force you to play with a lot of discipline. And if you don’t, it’s a big play. So we have got our hands full. And then their defense is playing really good. They are not giving up a lot of points, and you know, just really improved from last year. So just going to take a complete game on our part and a great week of practice.
Q. Can you talk about Mike Sobeski and the job he has done, being a walk-on and open tryout and now on the field and contributing a little bit during your great season so far?
COACH SWINNEY: Yeah, Sobeski has done an excellent job, and we knew about him in high school. His dad is actually the trainer over at Dorman High School, and you know, he came in and actually red-shirted last year, tried to put a little weight on him so he’s gotten a little bigger. He snaps for our field goals and has done a really good job. We gave him a shot, I think the Boston College game was his first game at snapper. (Phillip) Fajgenbaum is our starter on punts, and he was actually doing both. He got banged up a little bit and we really had nobody else with any experience so we went ahead and gave Sobeski the opportunity to get some experience against BC, and he’s just really done a great job for us. It’s really helped us because we have really developed some depth with our snappers and we have two guys with game experience and they can focus on the short snap or the long snap. It’s been really good. In fact, he was our special teams player of the game this past week.
Q. With your offense putting up 52 points in the last two games, are they doing certain things better than they were doing earlier in the season, or what do you account for these last would weeks?
COACH SWINNEY: Well, we are just first of all creating some turnovers and our defense has done a good job with turnovers this past week. Two of them, for scores. So we are kind of putting it all together. Same thing up there at Maryland. Our defense set up one, our kick game set up a couple. We took one to the house and another one we almost took to the house. So we set up some opportunities to score there, and then offensively we are doing a good job of executing. Our guys are doing a good job of making plays and our quarterback is playing really good and offensive line and those guys. So it’s really a combination of our team really working together in all three areas, and you saw that again this past week. We scored 59 points. But Kourtnei Brown on defense scored two touchdowns and they were able to get several turnovers and set up some scores and offensively they played pretty well. That’s a pretty potent attack when you put it all together like that on all three phases.
Q. Speaking of defense, with the points you’ve been giving up the last two weeks, is that a sign of any regression from the Virginia Tech game or what do you attribute to that?
COACH SWINNEY: No, we did not play well up at Maryland. They just — you have to give them some credit to Maryland and their quarterback did a great job against us. We didn’t quite handle the things they were doing very well, missing tackles. But our defense actually played pretty doggone good this last week. Our first group gave up 17 points and then we just, like I say, we got up so much and we played a ton of subs in the second half. We gave up a touchdown on a kick return, and that’s how they got 24. And the other two scores were, you know, on all of our backups and not to take anything away from them. We get our guys out, and it’s really a frustrating thing, because we don’t lower the standard. When we play our backups, we expect them to go out there, and perform we don’t want to just go out there and prove a point defensively and risk guys getting hurt when you have a 30-point lead. It was an opportunity for us to play a lot of other guys and learn. I’m confident that our defense is on track to finish strong and they are a big reason why we are 8-0 right now. This is a team effort. It’s not always pretty, but there’s been enough plays in all three phases to help us get to 8-0.
Q. Wondering how Andre Ellington and Dwayne Allen looked last night in practice?
COACH SWINNEY: Andre was better, he moved around a little better. I expect him to do a little more today but he’s still day-to-day. I think by 8:00 Saturday night, he’s going to be ready to play. Dwayne is fine. He’s been nursing a little turf toe type deal the last, oh, probably about three and a half weeks. So just same deal for him as it’s been. And that’s why this open date is going to be great, because we will be able to really get five or six key guys really well and healed up and rested for our stretch run.
Q. How much did it affect Georgia Tech when they lost their center on the first play down in Miami that you saw?
COACH SWINNEY: Well, I think it affected them a great deal. This is a guy that took all the reps, first team guy all week and all of the sudden you get in there early like that and you lose kind of your key guy. Same thing with us. Dalton Freeman, he’s the heart and soul up front there. So certainly had an effect on them.
Q. When is the last time you had a defensive end score two touchdowns, and not only that, but by two different ways?
COACH SWINNEY: I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that in my career as a player or coach. I don’t recall, I’ve seen defensive ends score — I can’t ever recall a guy scoring twice, not defensive lineman.
Q. I know some of that has to do with being at the right place at the right time but how has Kourtnei come along this season?
COACH SWINNEY: He’s made a tremendous amount progress and it just wasn’t the other night. I would say the last three or four games, he’s really started to come on and show up. He’s been making some plays and he’s had some big sacks for us. You know, we are very pleased with the progress that he’s made. But the one pick that he had was on a screen play. And he was well prepared for it, recognized the formation, the situation, the set of the tackle, the back going out and just did a great job of peeling off and making a play. The fumble recovery, Rashard (Hall) did a great job on the blitz of stripping the ball out and Kourtnei was doing a good job with his rush technique and he’s, like you is said, at the right place at the right time there and scooped it, but you still have to be athletic enough to bend down, scoop the ball and then be able to — fast enough to run away from everybody. I thought it was a very athletic play and a big, big play.
Q. I wondered, if you’re worried about anybody doing scoreboard watching, with you guys in the BCS hunt, and in a position where, you know, your position to be in the national title chase if things break right, do you watch the scoreboard or are you worried about your players doing that?
COACH SWINNEY: No, I’m not. We play to play, and our philosophy here is to just lay one brick at a time the very best you can and that means play that play the very best you can, play that game the best you can, and we can live with whatever results. At the end of the game we’ll look up and look at the scoreboard. As long as we got one more than them, then that’s great and if we do everything the best we can and we come up on the shorten end, hey, I can live with that, too. So no, we don’t spend any time worrying about the scoreboard. We are just trying to focus on our job and be in the moment, and if it’s a good play, move on to the next one; and if it’s a bad play, move on to the next one.