Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held a teleconference Monday where he discussed the loss to Georgia Tech, the upcoming Wake Forest game and more.
This is obviously a difficult loss that we are coming off. We are disappointed in the way we played. Again I give Georgia Tech a lot of credit for that. Just too many mistakes on our part, turnover, big plays, penalties, critical errors and some critical missed opportunities we had to get back in it. We just did not execute our plan to win and that is for sure. We have done that all year. It is a great lesson for our team in that is the reason we have been successful. All of a sudden we kind of went the other way. It is not a surprise that we lost. We are a good team but anybody can beat us and we are capable of beating anyone. We have to execute our plan to win and we just had too many guys not play to our standard.
We have to learn from it and grow from it. There were some positive in it. We did win the second half but we were just too far down and the clock was against us. I did like how we competed. We certainly did not give up. That was very evident with the turnover we got on the goal line then went 97 yards for a touchdown. You are always looking for something positive from a game like that. There are some positives in the game we can point out.
We have to put this one behind us and grow and get everyone refocused. We are having a very good year so far. All of our goals are still there. We are four quarters away from getting another Atlantic Division title and getting a ninth win. That is what we have to focus on.
Our open date is coming at a good time for us. We have a lot of guys that we have to get well. We talked about everybody this morning from an injury standpoint. Based on what Danny Poole is telling me it looks like when we take the field we will probably be as healthy as we have been since the season started. That is encouraging. That is what we need to do, get healthy, get recharged and get ready for November. It is good for everybody to get a break and we look forward to getting back in the Valley here in a couple of weeks and hopefully have a great atmosphere and try to get back on track again.
Q. Talk about Howard and Bellamy.
They will be really good players. They are just young guys. It was a tough night for them both as they put the ball on the ground. They have to grow out of that. It was disappointing. Both of them did some good things. Two young players getting a big opportunity to step us but the two turnovers were costly. They were both fundamental. I think D.J. was switching the ball and we don’t coach that. Mike he got the ball out away from his body and the defender reached around and popped it out. Those are just fundamental things. They are both too good of players to put the ball on the ground. One every now and then but that is something we haven’t done all year but to have two, especially in a game like that is very costly. But like any other young player out there they have a lot of ball left out there in front of them and they grow from all of those experiences, good or bad.
Q. Plan for this week?
This is the 13th week for us. The last thing we want to do is go out and beat these guys up. They have battled hard for us all year long. We are going to go out tonight and have a typical Monday practice. Tomorrow we will just have meetings. Tomorrow we have a community service event. It is something we always do during our open date. We will practice pretty good on Wednesday and Thursday. We will dial in on what we do best and really look at ourselves. We are going to get back to some fundamental type stuff. They will be off Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They will come back and have a normal game week.
Q. What is your sense on how soon they will flush what happened Saturday night?
They have to flush it today. We will get them in here this afternoon at 3:00 with the seniors and 3:15 with the team. We have to flush it then. We will talk about the mistakes and study the tape. When we go out on the practice field we have to move forward. I mean it is one game. We are having a really good year. Obviously you want to win them all but I don’t know how many people out there thought we would be 9-0 right now. If we had played a little better we might have been. The reality is we are 8-1 and every goal hanging on our wall is still in front of us. We are four quarters away from being division champs and getting our sixth win in this conference with an opportunity to get a seventh win if we can take care of our business. That is something that hasn’t been done here in a long, long time. There have been a lot of firsts this year and we still have a lot out there. That is what we have to focus on. Just like if you win a game or lose a game you have to put it in the rearview mirror. You grow and learn from it whether you win or lose. That is our job as coaches.
Q. Condition of Andre?
He is pretty good. He will be rocking and rolling by the time we play Wake. We will take care of him this week and get him 100 percent. That is the blessing of this open date. He really has time to get well. All of these guys. We have a bunch of bangs and bruises and all that kind of stuff, just the toll of 13 weeks. It will be good for them. Andre will be ready to roll. They will all be ready to roll by the time we play.
Q. What did Georgia Tech do to exploit your defense?
The sad part is we had about four guys that really hurt us and didn’t do their jobs. That was disappointing because we had about 15 guys play and 10 or 11 really played well. We had four or five that did not. I’m not calling guys out or anything because that is our job to get it right. They did some things where we were a little undisciplined and as a result they were able to exploit us in a couple of areas. The other point was the big plays. That is the difference in the game from last year. Last year they couldn’t get any big plays on us but this year they had four or five big plays that cost us and that is the difference in the game.
Q. It didn’t seem offense got a rhythm going until you got down substantially in the second half. Is that fixable?
Oh yeah, there is not anything in the game that is not fixable. First of all it is the fewest snaps we have had all year. We didn’t do a good job of working together as a team. We kind of worked against each other all night as a team. The defense didn’t get the stops we need and the offense had turnovers. That is a double edged sword right there. We just didn’t work together. Just like in the second half we go right down and score and we give the score back up. All the mistakes are very correctable.
Q. Craig James said the Clemson defense was doing more thinking than reacting. Was that a problem?
I wish we had been doing more thinking to be honest with you. Again we just had a few guys not play well. I wish I could tell you why. We had probably our best week of practice we have had all year. When you play a team like that everybody has to do their job. We just didn’t do some things we needed to do. It was disappointing. Again but you give Georgia Tech credit. They line up, whipped us and earned the win. They deserved to win and we didn’t.
Q. What will you do on your weekend off?
We have a few guys that will go recruiting on Friday but we have used most of our dates. Coaches will be off and players will be off Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And everybody needs that. Like I have said we have been going at it hard since the beginning of August. We are in November now so I think everybody needs to recharge.
For me personally I will spend the weekend with my family and really looking forward to that. This time of year you don’t get a lot of time. Me and my boys will watch some ball games. We will certainly watch the Wake Forest game with Notre Dame. You are never not thinking about work this time of year. You are always thinking about it. We will get away for the weekend and not have to game plan for a ball game. We will watch a bunch of games and enjoy that and the coaches will be going a lot of different directions.