Dabo's Corner

Dabo's Corner

Football

Dabo's Corner

By

By Heath Bradley.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his weekly press conference where he previewed Saturday’s game against Duke.

 

 

 

 

Opening statement:

“Good morning. I hope everybody is having a good week. Duke is having a great year. I’m really happy for Coach Cutcliffe and those players. Football is not an easy game. Everybody works hard and everybody practices hard. It’s good to see them having some fun up there at Duke, and it’s good to see Coach Cutcliffe having some success implementing his vision for that program. To know that they’ve already earned a bowl berth for the first time in a long, long time, that’s a testament to what they’re trying to do. I don’t think anybody on this team has been to Duke. Offensively, they’ve done some really, really good things. They have played all three quarterbacks. To be honest with you, they’ve all played well. They play a lot of running backs. They’re very talented at wide receiver. Their offensive line is very sound. They get rid of the ball, they don’t hold it. They create space situations. They play with a fast tempo. They’re all no huddle. Their defense is playing well. They bring a lot of pressure. They’re active up front. They play a lot of guys. They’ve got a couple of really, really good DBs. They pick their spots and challenge you with house blitz cover zero, and they bring one more than you can block, and you have to handle that. Their punt returner, #2, is fifth in the nation. I think he’s averaging like 17 yards per return. It’s about our preparation, our focus, our attention to details. That has not changed. I’m excited about this last road game. If we can find a way to win, this will be 4-1 on the road for us this year. We talked coming into this season about my concern with taking another step with this program. We’re headed in that direction. This would be a positive step to do something that hadn’t been done but twice in the past 15 or so years around here. We just try to focus on winning today. At the end of November, hopefully we’ll be a relevant football team from a national standpoint.”

Focus of Team:

“I think they’re focused, I really do. I just sense that they have more experience. This time last year, we were 8-0. This time we’re 7-1. I felt like we got a little distracted last year. We lost our focus a little bit. All of a sudden, the things we were doing well, we weren’t doing well. Hoepfully these guys understand, and they’ve been that way all year long. We just have to go do it one week at a time. I see our team getting better. I just see guys improving gradually.”

On Opponents:

“We’re going to get everybody’s best game. There’s no doubt about that. I know they had a tough one last week in Tallahassee. That’s a tough place to go play. We’ll get their best effort. It was a good crowd for them, a rivalry game for them. They played all the way to the end. That’s one of the things I was most proud of the guys about going up to Wake Forest. It’s about how you play the game. I think our guys have bought into that, and they’re competing against himself. Last time I was up there, we had a great Clemson crowd.”

On Improvement of Team:

“I think we’ve made gradual improvement each week. We’ve been up and down in the OL, but probably more up than down, and that’s been a positive. Now, we need a little more competition. Next year, we’re going to have a pretty special group on the offensive line. If it was a little bit better right now, then we’d be better off. Right now, we just don’t have that in a couple of spots in the OL. I think they’ve been mostly up and down but offensively, I think we’ve been fairly consistent. Because they’re more confident, they’re playing faster. They’re playing more as a unit. Up there at Boston College, I think they started to come on. Those are all positives, and here we are going into the last month of the season.”

On How Defenses Have Played Tigers:

“Yeah. But you know, people do what they do. You’re not going to change the identity of your team, in most cases, in one week. Last week at Wake Forest… We had opportunities to make some plays. You have to make those plays. That’s who they are, that’s what they do, and you have to pick your spots.”

On Adam Humphries:

“He’s at receiver, but we’re going to keep working him, like we did last week. He’s incredibly valuable to us in our offensive scheme. I’ll tell you, that was just a great side effect of the game—to be able just to get him into the game. We have to have a plan, and again, thinking about it last Sunday, we’re sitting there with just a few days left before we have to play. He understands that stuff, and he’s played DB his whole life. It’s something he does every week. But it was good, and it gives him a little bit of confidence.”

On Spreading the Ball Around:

“I think that’s, personally, when we’re at our best—when we can spread the ball around to all of those guys. We substitute liberally. We have a lot of confidence in whoever is playing. Jaron is probably as good a finisher as we have. The guy is a tough, competitive player that is incredibly unselfish. His yards after contact probably leads our team. I’m really proud of the year he’s having. Brandon Ford has been very steady for us. It’s been good to see him have some success for us. That’s one of the things I like about what we do. We have the ability to involve a lot of people in what we do.”

On David Beasley and the Offensive Line:

“Very solid. Probably way more than what I expected, to be honest with you. He hasn’t been perfect. He got a little banged up and played through a little of that. Ryan Norton is another guy. Ryan Norton was our offensive lineman of the week last week. When you’re going to lose a guy like Dalton Freeman…”

On View Of Program Nationally:

“I want to be a team that, when it’s all said and done, we’re in the mix every year. We need to be a ranked football team. When you put three, four, five years like that together, then you’re doing okay. We’ve been ranked, Tim was telling me, 23 straight weeks. There are seven teams in the country out of 124 that can say that. There are a lot of things we need to do. We have to do a lot of things. We had a great year, we had another good year. I think we’re heading in that direction. All of those things are out there for this team. We’re going to keep trying to improve and win each day.”

On Perception of the ACC Nationally:

“No. Listen, we just line up and play who we play. What pleases me is to see our team play well. When it’s all said and done, we’ll be where we need to be. If we were undefeated right now, we’d be up there pretty high. We have a chance to have a really special season.”

On Spurrier’s Comments:

“Yes, I heard it. It obviously doesn’t take long. Look, people need to just kind of back off the ledge. Personally, I think he was really trying to pay me a compliment, I think. I think that’s what he was trying to do. I do take it as a compliment that he would use something that I said to compliment one of his players. I meant exactly what I said. He’s just a quality, quality person. I’m disappointed that we’re not going to get to compete against him. I’ve never been a guy that wants to just line up and not have any challenges. I don’t have anything to say other than that.”

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