Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his weekly Sunday teleconference to review the win over Georgia Tech and look ahead to the showdown with Texas A&M.
A transcript of Sunday’s teleconference follows:
“We got the opportunity over the last couple of days to study ourselves and get a little head start on A&M.
Just a recap off our game. I am really proud of our team. I am really proud of our staff. We were focused. We were ready. We were able to play a lot of people against an ACC opponent this early. Obviously I think that is something that I think can really help us moving forward to get a gauge for where we are and to grow from.
There were a lot of good things in the game. I was disappointed with the turnovers and penalties for sure but outside of that a pretty clean first game, especially spending time watching college football this weekend.
I thought we had a good mindset and again great energy. The guys were focused and ready.
Offensively to be able to run the football the way we did against a good ACC defense. That is huge for us moving forward. 8.4 per carry and 411 yards rushing. If we can run the ball effectively that is going to setup a lot of explosive plays. We were good on third down. We didn’t give up any sacks. The only negative yards we had were from the backs. We only had five yards loss but that was on our backs.
I thought we did a good job of complimenting each other. The defense got turnovers and we scored and when we had turnovers the defense stopped them. That was good to see.
But offensively I thought assignment wise we were in a good place. I saw a lot of good things from a lot of guys. Again the penalties were something that we have to cleanup. The fumble there, the turnover. We had a couple of opportunities for a couple more big plays but we didn’t finish the catch. All in all 52 points and we played a lot of guys so I think that will help us moving forward.
Defensively again 4 sacks and 8 tackles for loss. It was just a really good start, especially with so many new people. I love how our defense responded. They responded incredibly well, especially when the turnovers came. To not give up any points off the turnovers was huge. Again a lot we can teach from. Fourth down stops, goal line play. We were outstanding on third down plays. We held the quarterback to under 50 percent and created the turnovers with the two picks and fumble recovery.
I thought we played hard. It was fun to see a lot of new people in the game. I thought Tyler Davis was outstanding. To see him in his first start he was really, really good.
Most of their yardage, I think 150 some yards came on four plays. They are very correctable things. We have to clean up some angles, leverage the ball a little bit better. They got us on the mid-line one time, something we had practiced. And then we just busted on the wheel route and we just got beat over the top on the one sky ball but all in all a pretty solid first game. We had a few missed tackles.
It has been a long time since we played. I am really proud of the preparation that we had and what we put on tape.
Most of all our special teams play was outstanding. I can’t say enough about Will Spiers. He doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to flip the field because usually we are punting on a short field. Man he launched that ball. It hung up there almost five seconds.
To create a turnover on our first punt was huge. It was a great job by Spector coming up with it. And then we had two other punts where we pinned them inside the 20 creating the field position. Our kickoff coverage was outstanding. Our return was very solid and we handled the ball well. Kick return off to a good start there. I thought Ngata had one big one there to give us great field position. And then to hit the 51 yarder right there was great for our confidence and Potter. Especially early in the season to be able to go out there and knock it through was great for him.
So all in all we had a good start. We are 1-0 which is where we wanted to be and now it’s about getting in the rhythm of the season and have a normal week to get ready for a huge challenge this week with A&M.”
“Injury wise we came through really good.”
Question: What are your early thoughts on Texas A&M and what jumps off the page to you? Would you be willing to share any post victory dance moves with Mack Brown?
Swinney: “Mack doesn’t need any help from me that is for sure. Early impressions of A&M again we just have one tape from this year but obviously we do a pretty extensive summer study on our first four opponents. They are really talented. They have recruited very well. They have outstanding coaches. Their quarterback I think is a really, really good player. He can run. He hurt us last year. They have outstanding skill, big guys up front on both sides of the ball. This will be as good of a secondary as we will play all year. They are really talented so they are just a really good team. They are coming off a good year last year in Jimbo’s first year. There is no doubt that they will be one of the better teams in their league. They are certainly a team that is talented enough and they have everything they need to be able to beat us.”
Question: I know you said during fall camp on Amari that there was no chance that he would play in this game, but I noticed he went through warmups on Thursday. Is there any update on his status?
Swinney: “I think he is really in a good place. He is really close so we will see. I think he is definitely ahead of schedule and doing great.”
Question: Like really close as in it’s possible he could play this weekend or just his timeline has moved up?
Swinney: “I think his timeline has moved up and I would say anything is possible.”
Question: What is it about Kellen Mond that makes him so dangerous?
Swinney: “Well he is big first of all. He is a big kid and he can really run. And especially if you watch him on his progression as a passer. Jimbo has done a great job with him. If you look at how the season went I mean he can really throw the football. With a year under his belt with Jimbo he is going to be very well coached. He is really going to own their system as opposed to last year where he played really great against us but it was just his first or second game. Now he has a whole year under his belt. He is an excellent leader. I think he is a very smart player. He has great instincts for the game. But just his size, his skill set and his ability to beat you both running and passing is a challenge.”
Question: How do you balance wanting your quarterback to be aggressive on all plays and taking into consideration long term health and planning for the whole season?
Swinney: “Well you want to be smart but you don’t want to let the other team score. I think as a football player you have to go make the play as required for your team. That was the play required and it gave us a chance to play goal line defense and at the end of the day you can’t go out and play this game scared. I don’t think that is a good mindset to have. You have to be smart and I think he is very smart. He is not looking for unnecessary hits or things like that.”
Question: Could you address the play of Denzel Johnson and him sticking it out at Clemson?
Swinney: “I love Denzel and I’m super proud of him. I think we were his only Division 1 offer. He was just a kid that we saw some really good qualities in that if he was willing to put the work in I felt like he could develop into a good player. He put the work in and he stayed the course. He has become a very good player. I thought he became a very good player last year. Last year in his fourth year he really came on for us and this year he is considered a starter for us. He is a guy I’m super proud of.”
We are pleased to announce a new partnership with Fanatics. This is great news for Tiger fans as they have the officially licensed Clemson gear.
The Clemson Insider will get a portion of all sales so get ready for another championship season by ordering your Clemson gear today and help support TCI.