By Ashley Denny.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his weekly press conference Tuesday where he previewed the Atlantic Division matchup with Wake Forest. TCI brings you some of the quotes from Tuesday’s presser.
“Good to get back to work today it’s been a good open date; we’ve gotten healthy which was our #1 objective, a lot of guys benefited from time off. Just looking at them last night in practice they had a spring in their step that I haven’t seen in a little while.”
“Excited to get back in Death Valley for the last time this year, our fans have been awesome. I hope they’ll come in on Friday, call in and take the day off and we’ll get this thing rolling.”
“Wake Forest has had a good year, I know their record is 5-4 but they’ve been capable of winning any of those 4 games. They compete with all they have; they’re always where they’re supposed to be. It’s a tough out that we’re getting ready to play, we’ll get the very best that they have. Very balanced team, that’s been the key to them this year and the success they’ve had. The Quarterback is playing well for them, 15 touchdowns, and 6 picks. #2 is probably as good as is out there in this league; want to get the ball in his hands because he’ll make something happen after a catch. We’ve got to try and make them one dimensional, and play well in space because they’ll try and spread us out.”
“Their secondary is as good as we’ve played, very athletic, aggressive, well coached. Their safety has 5 picks; they get their hands on a lot of balls so we’ve got to be disciplined on what we do outside. But priority number one is taking care of the football, and just do what we do. If we’re going to have a great year, we have to finish and play the best four quarters we’ve played all year in Death Valley this Saturday”
“We needed the break last week, you never want to lose, but our guys have had good focus all year they’ve handled the loss well. Came back Monday of last week, they went right back to work and their eyes are forward, trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
What does this week’s game mean for the seniors?
“The Atlantic Division is what it’s all about, you’ve got a chance to win the division for the second time in three years, the seniors have a chance to say that they’ve been undefeated at home, something that hasn’t happened in 21 years. They’ve separated themselves as a team from teams of the past few years.”
On the defensive struggles?
“We certainly know we’re capable of playing better than we did against Georgia Tech, our guys know what the reality and we’ve got to stay focused on that and play better this week.”
“There’s a big drop off for us right now and that’s the difference in our team. We roll Da’Quan out and bring in Malliciah, you take away Jarvis and put in Rennie, guys that are talented but not as much experience. There’s a risk reward that you’re always dealing with but if you look at our snaps, you’ve got some guys that have defensively played more snaps than we’ve had in a while, and that’s because of lack of depth. It is what it is, we’ve got a lot of guys improving, made significant strides and they don’t even know it yet until they start another cycle.”
Who are some of the defensive players that may be improving more than fans can see on Saturdays?
“DeShawn Williams, Corey Crawford, Stephone Anthony, even Tony Steward we’ve got a lot of guys learning, going through the game plan process for the first time week by week. All of that stuff gets absorbed, it’s like having money in the bank, at some point they’ll be able to tap into that.”
On Boyd bouncing back.
“It’s what we expect from Boyd, he hasn’t lost many times in his career but he’s been there before. He didn’t play well against GA Tech and is anxious to get back out there and prove what he’s capable of.”
On the leadership of the team.
“We’ve got tremendous senior leadership. Most of our seniors are either starters for us or contribute a lot, and that’s what you want. One of the things we’ve done a good job of is developing leadership throughout the team, not just seniors. I meet with Seniors throughout the week, and they selected guys, juniors, sophomores that they wanted in the leadership meetings with them and that helps inseminate that leadership. Marquan Jones has been an incredible leader for our team, doesn’t show up much on the stats but he’s special. He’s been right there teaching and helping, practicing hard every day preparing for his opportunity.”