Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his weekly Sunday teleconference where he reviewed the win over Georgia, injuries and looked ahead to next week’s game.
“It was a really great win. We made a lot of big mistakes in all areas but we also made some huge plays in all areas. I just thought after looking at it that it was a great team win. The team was ready for the moment. I was just proud of the staff and the heart and toughness that our players played with all night. They gave us everything that they had. It is a great tape to be able to teach and learn from, especially finding a way to win the game. At the end of the day it is just a very good start. It gives us a little momentum in our season. Check off the first goal but a lot more to go and we have to get back to work this week. The goal for us this week is simply to be better next Saturday than we were last Saturday and to continue to develop the type of depth and consistency to be able to have the type of season that we want.”
For that type of game it was a pretty long list. I am sure Georgia’s was long too because both teams fought really hard. I don’t think we have anything significant. I think everybody will be back and ready to go. We have a lot of bumps and bruises. We have a lot of guys that will probably be slowed down a little bit until Tuesday or so.
Martin Jenkins shoulder kind of popped out but we expect him to be back. Most of the other injuries were the type that you get when you play a very physical, tough game. We have to get them back healthy.
What was the injury to Robert Smith?
Robert he just got banged up a little bit just cramping mostly. It was the biggest issue he had. Just some bumps and bruises but nothing major.
What is the latest on MacKensie and Jordan and will they be ready this week?
We expect both of them to be ready. They will both be full go in practice starting tomorrow. We will see how they practice this week. I expect them to be ready to play on Saturday right now as we sit here.
I feel good about where MacKensie is and hopefully he doesn’t have any setbacks and he can go. As far as Jordan I think he will be ready.
How about Bradley Pinion last night?
He was awesome. He is definitely going to be our special teams player of the game. He really got it up there and forced some fair catches. He kicked it deep. His kickoffs were incredibly consistent. I thought that he was ready for the moment. He really was. This is a young man that was just a true sophomore but got some good experience last year. He was ready to step out on that stage and perform at a high level and consistent level. That is what we need from him.
How many Clemson players went out for cramps last night?
I think Robert was the only one. Robert played a lot of snaps because it was just that type of game. We are very youthful with our depth in the secondary at safety. I think we are going to get better in that area but we really needed him on the field as much as possible. It was just a very, very humid night. Our guys were in great shape and I loved their mentality and their demeanor all night long. They just kept on playing.
Any worries there might be some kind of dropoff this week?
I hope not. That is one of the big things I emphasize. We didn’t talk a lot about Georgia until it came time to game plan. It is really more about Clemson. It is understanding that you play to a standard, not to an opponent, not to GameDay or kickoff times. When you play everybody is a nameless faceless opponent and you just take pride in your performance. You have to have that kind of mentality to have the consistency that it takes. If you don’t you get beat by somebody you shouldn’t get beat by. That is an area where I thought out team grew up a lot last year. They really competed very consistently all year long.
Given that Georgia’s offensive line may be the best you face all year long how encouraged are you that your front four was able to put on pressure when you had to?
I thought our defensive line was incredibly physical and disruptive all night. They were just outstanding. When they did have some running success it wasn’t on our defensive line. It was a mishit or missed assignment on the back end or second level or a missed tackle. Our defensive line was incredibly consistent and dialed in all night long. I don’t think we had four sacks until about the fourth game last year. To get four sacks in a game like that against a veteran offensive line I think that is again kind of what I have been talking about. We have a group of competitors up front that are unselfish and like to play. We really like our depth. Vic Beasley, Corey Crawford played great. Big Shaq Lawson was very solid for a true freshman walking out there on that stage. It was good to see Tavaris Barnes play well. All those guys inside. We just feel like we have a good group that we can roll. That is encouraging to see them go excel against a team like that.
What do you attribute the drops to last night?
A couple of them just technique wise was just not finishing the tuck. We had one on Charone where he made a late catch and just didn’t get the ball tucked away. The DB gets his hand in there and knocks it out. But if he transitions the ball to the tuck sooner we probably have that one. We have another one where the positioning of the ball lets the ground cause the fumble. But hey they made enough plays. We certainly weren’t as sharp as we need to be at wideout but that is a position I am not very concerned about. We have great talent. For Martavis it was just disappointing not seeing him transfer it from the practice field to the field because he has been so outstanding all spring and all fall camp. But I kind of look at it like last year where we saw the same thing with Brandon Ford. He was so good as Robin then all of a sudden he was Batman against Auburn. That first night he just didn’t handle it very well. Then all of a sudden he went on to have a great year. I think the same thing is in Martavis’ case. It is the first time where he has been put to where you are the guy. It is just a learning opportunity for him. Don’t forget about him. He will be back.
It was kind of the same thing with Peake. He had a drop but it looked like you made an effort to go right back to him?
Charone actually played very well. He had some huge plays for us. It was a tough play and really more of a good play by the DB. He had the ball and the DB just fought the ball out. I thought he played very well. He made some plays with his feet. He had a huge, huge play he made on fourth and one. That wasn’t a well thrown ball. He had to reach back and make the catch and break a tackle. That was one of the bigger plays of the game.
With all the great DB’s you brought in did you imagine that Wiggins would see the field the most the first game?
I don’t really every think about that kind of stuff. I felt like Korrin had a chance to play for us in the recruiting process. He has just been one of those guys in camp that first of all was not overwhelmed mentally. A lot of the freshmen that is the biggest thing is that they get overwhelmed mentally. It bogs them down and they can’t compete physically. Korrin just picked things up well. He is a very mature player. He gave us some good snaps last night and did a good job.
Thoughts on the first Georgia injury where the player started to go off the field then stopped and went down. Did it seem like they had some kind of intent to slowdown the tempo?
Ummm, you know I don’t know. I have seen that clip. Somebody sent that to me today. I will let them speak on that stuff. I am not worried about all of that. We just need to execute and worry about doing our job. I don’t try to get into second guessing that stuff.