Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his Sunday teleconference to review the win over Georgia Southern, update injuries and look ahead to Georgia Tech. A transcript of some of the teleconference follows:
“I am really proud of our team. We are coming off a really good win. Again I want to thank our fans for such a good environment yesterday with so much going on. It turned out to be a beautiful day here in Clemson. It was an incredible crowd. I thought it was awesome to see. Again I appreciate everybodies efforts to come.
Like I told our team the first quarter of our season is over. We are 3-0 and that is where we hoped to be. But we are a football team that still has a lot of improvement to do. We have to get better in a lot of areas. We are going to work really hard to continue to use the things that we have to correct, and we have a lot of work to do as coaches to help this team reach their potential so I am excited about that opportunity moving forward.
We have a huge game this week. It is a big challenge. We go to Atlanta for our first conference game. Our next goal is to win the division and we know that we will get the very best of Georgia Tech just like we do every week from whoever we play.
We had a lot of positives but for us it is about continuing to work on some details and some execution.
Obviously the biggest issue Saturday offensively, we had 600 some yards of offense and all that, but just the three drives where we came away with no points. Really they were good drives. We did a lot of good things, but that was really disappointing as far as not finishing some of those drives. We have got to clean that up. We have done a good job of taking care of the ball but we had a couple of tough situations the other day that we can definitely learn from and hopefully that will make us better.
But I thought our tempo was better. I thought we were much more efficient which helps you on third down. We have become very explosive once again. I think we had 15 explosive plays and that is a run of 12 or more or a pass of 20 or more. That is the most we have had around here in a while. 27 first downs. We rushed for 309 yards. Those were all positives. We didn’t have any sacks. Our offensive line I thought our protection was pretty solid. The running backs were very productive, and we had a bunch of guys touch the ball. There were a lot of good things that took place.
Again the turnovers, we had a couple of penalties, just the details of what we are trying to do. And just getting that hunger that I was talking about yesterday to finish some of those drives and to get all that is there.
This will be a good tape for us to watch because there was a lot of good but still room for improvement.
Defensively, I thought we got better from last week. We played four quarters. We were very disciplined. Our mental errors were way down from last week. We did have five sacks which is hard to do against a team like them. I thought we for the most part really played with good attention to details. We did get caught peaking into the backfield a couple of times.
I love the effort. I thought both sides played hard. If we can continue to get that type of effort we will continue to get better as we go through this season.
In special teams the biggest thing was the two missed kicks. And TJ had a couple of penalties on punt returns and the effort was really good. He was trying to get his job done we just have to clean up his technique.
We talked about Kelly last night. He is doing good. He is much better. We will get him back out there tomorrow. We will probably put him in green tomorrow. I think that is what Danny said. Which really doesn’t change anything for him as we don’t hit our quarterbacks anyway but just from a protocal standpoint green means your in practice but you don’t get hit. Like I said that doesn’t change anything for Kelly.
And Cade (Stewart) is doing a little better today. We are hopeful with him as we go through the week. Other than that we are in pretty good shape.
Question: Do you expect Kelly to be able to play next week at Georgia Tech?
Swinney: “I don’t see any reason why not. Like I said he didn’t have any type of, like I said they called it a chest bruise but he got hit in the chest. It affected his breathing a little bit. That is what they were scared of. They were just very cautious with him. I talked to him and he was good last night. He was good today when they checked him out. I guess anything can happen but he is in practice tomorrow. Barring anything crazy I don’t see why he can’t play.”
Question: What does a chest bruise actually mean?
Swinney: “I have no idea. That is just what they told me. It is kind of like a chest bruise. He got hit and he felt like his breathing was out of wack. It kind of sped up. He had an EKG on him and that checked out. Then they did a CT (scan) too to make sure there was no air trapped anywhere or whatever. They were very precautionary with him and did a good job but he is good.”
Question: Talk about the growth Albert Huggins has gone through the last three years?
Swinney: “I am really proud of Albert. He has quietly had three good games too. He has played with great effort. He is disruptive. He is physically one of the most gifted guys we have had. He is incredibly gifted physically. Just his size and he can move. But he has just finally kind of figured things out as far as what he had to do to be a good player and use all of that talent that he has. And channel it the right way. It has been fun. I thought he saw a lot of that last year coming from him. We look at it like we have three starters at defensive tackle. He is off to a really good start. ”
Question: How have you seen Trevor Lawrence develop during the season and how comfortable does that make you in the off chance that Kelly can’t play Saturday?
Swinney: “He would play regardless so obviously we have confidence in him. We have played him all three games and he has done a good job. He is just going to continue to get better. He has had the experience. Obviously the first game to get to play college football that is a big deal and got off to a good start. And then going on the road in that environment and having to go play and perform. That was just an awesome experience for him. Something that I think will really help him this week going on the road again because it is different. You only know what you know so I think that is something that will bode well for him this week and playing even more snaps.
He is an explosive player and really have a good feel, a good command. He will make some freshman mistake along the way like anybody but he is not your typical freshman. He has a really good command of our offense. We are very confident in him. Absolutely. It is great that he has been able to get three good games under his belt.
This is where we wanted to be at this point to know that we have more than one guy that we think we can win with from an experience standpoint. We felt like coming in that we had three guys that can win but two of them had no experience. And now Chase has played in two of the three games and it was good to get him in there as well.
I like where we are and hopefully we will continue to get better.”