Coach Swinney held his Sunday teleconference to review the win over Charlotte and look ahead to UNC.
A transcript of the teleconference follows:
“It was another good win and it really started with our crowd, just the environment. I thought there was a lot of energy in the stadium and certainly out guys really draw from the energy. It just was a great night.
It was really a fun game. It was fun to see so many guys get the opportunity to play. We played 11 guys and it was really a pretty cool night to be a part of. Obviously you don’t get many of those opportunities. It was a fun day to see so many guys get the opportunity to go play.
Offensively there were a lot of big plays, explosive and a lot more efficient in this game. Less penalties and our completion percentage was way up. We were 100 percent in the red zone, really good on third down, six yards a carry. So we did what we needed to do offensively.
We did have the one interception by Taisun trying to hit the inside guy but he floated it over the top and we had one drop. The biggest thing is just a few details that will be great to coach from. A couple of things that will make us better. We did have one sack and that was on Chase. We did a good job of protecting the quarterback, especially against that No. 5. He is a really good player.
Defensively that bunch was averaging 47 a game coming in so I thought our preparation was really good all week. I was just really pleased with the team. They were ready to play, our maturity and respect for how you have to prepare every week regardless of who you play. I really thought that was really evident. They did run the ball for a little bit more per carry than we want but we got better as the game went and again played a lot of people.
On third down we did a nice job. We had a couple of sacks and TFLs. The pick six was obviously a huge play in the game. So a lot of good things there. Our effort was good, assignment wise we were pretty sound. We were the least penalized team.
We did some good things in special teams. It was good to see will have a big punt down to the one there. I think we averaged 11 yards per return. Kickoff coverage was good and again we got a lot of guys in the game.
It is definitely something that we can all learn from. A lot of good things on tape that we can use to teach and make our team better. I am excited about this week getting back on the road.
When you play a lot of guys like that you come out of it and feel like you have a pretty rested team. So these guys are in pretty good shape physically and hopefully it is a week where we can have all hands on deck and head up to Chapel Hill and continue to build some momentum on our season.”
Question: How does coach Elliott help the running back grow and not only develop them but help them as people?
Swinney: “Just by being here every day. Just by the nature of showing up for work every day and being who he is. That is how he helps them. The same thing for every coach. You spend a lot of time with your players, especially your position group, lots of time. So I think that is our responsibility as coaches is to get them ready for the game and the opponent and all of that but prepare your players for life as well while you have the opportunity to have such great influence on your lives. It is important so just having that relationship and that trust, the communication and all of those things. He does a wonderful job with that and just serving those guys every day. And telling them the truth and being tough on them when he needs to be tough on them, putting his arm around them when he needs to and using his wisdom of years to teach them. These are young people that are growing and learning every single day.”
Question: Can you address the battle between Dukes and Melussi for that role. How are they unfolding as we are a few games into the season?
Swinney: “Well they are doing great. It has been good to get them some playing time, just a couple of games where we got them some significant time. Obviously Chez got in and they got like one carry each against Syracuse. They are kind of works in progress. Chez had the big run against Syracuse and Dukes came back and had the big run against Charlotte. But they are great young men, working really hard and learning and getting better. The game is still fast for them. I think the more and more they play the more and more comfortable they will get. But both of them are guys that we are trying to get ready. We will need them at some point down the road. Again it is a long season and I think they are going to get better and better. They are both doing a great job and both bring something kind of different in their styles of running.”
Question: How have you seen guys in the secondary like Zanders, Charleston and Jones develop since they got on campus?
Swinney: “Well those three in particular I think have made great progress and have been here since January. They have had a lot of water under the bridge since January. They are getting better and better and they just look better. They are physically good and mentally with all the installation since the spring, the practice in the spring and then all of the summer skills and drills and camp. So they are not like your typical freshmen. They have had good work and they have caught on. They are good promising players that we are excited about. We play them on special teams and try to get them in the games when we can. Obviously we have some great safeties but those guys when they have gotten in there they have showed up and shown the attributes to show why we recruited them. They are physical, fast, smart guys. Sheridan has put on about 15 pounds. Almost 20 actually. He is just stronger and doing a heck of a job. So it is a good group. Booth got here late in the summer so he is coming on and Ray Thorton was here in the spring but he had surgery so he is still recovering and fortifying that shoulder. And Phillips is another guy that got here this summer that is making some good progress.”
Question: What have you seen from UNC early and the job coach Brown has done?
Swinney: “I am just kind of getting into them tonight but the biggest thing is they are just a few plays from being 4-0. That is the main thing I would say. Obviously they had a big win to open the season. They had a really close, tough loss with Wake which is a good team. I am just kind of getting into their game with App but that one came down the wire too. They have gotten behind a couple of times but they came back so they have shown a lot of resiliency and they have played tough. It is easy to see coach Brown’s influence in the effort they are playing with, the belief even when they are down. They are battling and they have gotten back in games. So they have had a couple of big wins and a couple of close losses. But a team that I know will be super pumped and super ready and excited to play us on Saturday at home.”
Question: “What do you remember about recruiting Sam Howell?
Swinney: “He is a player. I would say we were right on him. We offered him and Bo Nix and Taisun were kind of our guys in that group. I would say we were right on him. He is a heck of a player. He is a competitor and he has a lot of savvy to him. He has a lot of confidence, especially for a young guy. He can run. He can make all of the throws. He is just going to get better and better.”