Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his weekly press conference Sunday night where he discussed the loss to Florida State, injuries and much more!
Well obviously it was a disappointing loss last night. We had an opportunity to really study it. We played hard and had a very good team on the road at their place and we pretty much had the lead for most of three quarters. We just didn’t finish.
We had three or four really critical plays, momentum type plays that really lit a fire for them. The shuffle pass, the 77 yard play that led to a touchdown was huge. I thought us coming back with the field goal to put us back up by ten was a big answer. Then we gave up the 90 yard kickoff return off the kick and they cut it to three. Then we go out offensively and we didn’t respond. We played pretty good but we had a little lull there for about three series where we had to punt. On third down we had a big penalty on a screen call and then we throw a pick. So we had opportunities to respond offensively but we didn’t.
We were up then and then we were down four in a matter of minutes. We get the drop on third down and they get a big 35 yard run to setup another score. We are down 11 now and our defense goes out and does a good job of getting us a fumble and we throw an interception and they get a score off of it.
It was a really difficult not quite quarter and a half. It was really tough that we didn’t handle the storm when it came. You have to give credit where credit is due. They are a very good football team. I thought that there depth was a definite factor. I thought that there speed definitely showed up late in the game there.
We have an opportunity to rebound this week. We did not play well defensively. We played pretty well the first half. We had about 15 or 20 plays that were just very disappointing. We gave up big plays against the run. We had pour tackling. We did not play with a lot of confidence. In the fourth quarter especially. Too many big plays to blocked. You have to give Florida State some credit because they did a good job of executing.
I thought Tajh Boyd really played with all of his heart. He played very hard, great effort. He competed his tail off until the very end. I was very proud of our offensive line. Giff timothy in particular. This guy was leading the nation in sacks and I thought Giff battled him really, really hard and played well. I think that is going to be great for his confidence. Dalton played well and Brandon Thomas played well.
We need to focus on Boston College. This is going to be a difficult one going up there. We just started the process of studying them. We have not played well up there. We have to bounce back and try to find a way to get to 4-1 and get back here to the Valley.
Injury wise we really don’t have anybody that looks like they are questionable for the game or anything like that. Any time you play a game like that you are going to have a bunch of guys that got beat up. That is the case with us and we have a lot of guys with bumps and bruises. But I don’t see anybody missing the BC game.
Question – What sticks in your mind about your last loss up at BC?
Dabo – We couldn’t score. The same thing that went wrong with a number of our losses that year. We had missed kicks. We got inside the redzone and turned it over. That is the game where we got Andre Ellington hurt. I think they only scored one touchdown. Which is the same thing that happened at Florida State two years ago. We missed kicks and turned it over in the redzone. That is what I remember about that trip.
Question – You mentioned the problems at corner. Do you think personnel changes are possible there?
Dabo – Anything is possible. I think there are some guys right now that we really need to challenge this week. They are a very good football team and I don’t want to take anything away from Florida State but we have some guys that have to play better. That have played better so we have to challenge some guys to play better or we have to give somebody else an opportunity.
We just don’t have a lot of depth right now in the secondary. We have some guys that are coming but are not yet where we want them to be. We have some of these guys that are playing at corner that for whatever reason are not playing with confidence right now. We have to get their confidence back.
Bad things are going to happen. When you play that position bad things are going to happen from time to time. But you have to play very smart. We have to finish tackles better. We have to compete for the ball better. There are a lot of things we have to do.
Anything is possible as far as personnel at this point. We have played four games and we have a whole season in front of us but we have to go back to work and challenge these guys. Hopefully they will respond. If they are what I think they are they will.
Question – Are there any thoughts of getting Travis Blanks in that mix at corner?
Dabo – No, I don’t see him at corner right now. He is really doing a good job. You are going to eventually see him at safety. He will probably be a starting safety for us next year and possibly play some this year. He has really done a good job in the role that we have put him in. He probably had a couple of mismatches with him last night but he competes his tail off. He makes some mistakes. He had a mistake on a long run but he plays hard, he gets better. It is important to him. He tries to play with technique. He plays with a ton of energy so I just see him getting better and better.