Swinney Notebook: What you need to know after The Citadel game

Swinney Notebook: What you need to know after The Citadel game

Football

Swinney Notebook: What you need to know after The Citadel game

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Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney met with the media following the top-ranked Tigers’ 49-0 rout over The Citadel on Saturday at Death Valley and covered a variety of topics.

Here are some of the main notables from Swinney’s postgame press conference:

Historic day for the offense, defense. Clemson scored 49 first-half points, its most in the first two quarters of play since scoring 49 against Temple in a 63-9 victory on Oct. 12, 2006. Previously, Clemson’s most first-half points in the Swinney era was 45 against Ball State in 2012 and against South Carolina State in 2016.

“Just really, really proud of what the offense looked like with our first group,” Swinney said.

On the other side of the ball, the Tigers produced their first shutout since the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, a 31-0 win against Ohio State. It was Clemson’s first regular season shutout since a 54-0 win against Syracuse in 2016.

“To me, defensively, that was the story of the day,” Swinney said. “To hold those guys out of the end zone for four quarters is almost impossible. They created a lot of problems, a lot of stress (with the triple-option offense).”

Planned playing time for Uiagalelei. Freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei replaced Trevor Lawrence on Clemson’s fourth possession and scored his first career collegiate touchdown on a quarterback keeper on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line.

The Tigers were up by 28 points at the time Uiagalelei entered the game early in the second quarter, but according to Swinney, it wasn’t the score that dictated when he came in.

“We went into the game, we were going to put him in the fourth series, regardless of whether the ball was on the plus-1 or the minus-1,” Swinney said. “So, that’s just the way it worked out. He was going in no matter where the ball was on the fourth series. That was our plan, and good to see him go in there and got a chance to get in the end zone.”

Swinney on “some” discipline for Kendrick. Junior cornerback Derion Kendrick, who was on Clemson’s inactive roster for the season opener at Wake Forest last week, returned to action against The Citadel but was held out at the outset of the contest.

Swinney shed some light on why Kendrick did not start Saturday’s game and also commented on the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he was flagged for in the first quarter.

“It can’t happen, number one,” Swinney said. “But he just didn’t start the game. (Cornerbacks coach) Mike (Reed)’s got a lot of competition in his room, too. Obviously DK is as good of a player as there is out there.

“I wouldn’t call it discipline, I’d call it a little bit of love, just loving him up. Discipline is the greatest form of love, and Mike does a great job with those guys. DK’s a great kid, but we want him to be accountable in every area — academics, tutors, study hall, you name it — it all matters to us. So, he got himself in a little bit of a hole this summer but he’s dug himself out. He’s coming on, but again, we can’t have mistakes like that.”

Injury updates. Senior linebacker Baylon Spector, Clemson’s defensive MVP for the Wake Forest game, left Saturday’s game early on after he delivered a big hit but got shaken up on the play.

Swinney was asked if Spector is in concussion protocol.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I just know they held him out. Not sure specifically what his situation is, they just said they were going to hold him.”

Swinney also said wide receiver Joseph Ngata tweaked an ab muscle during the game and wasn’t quite able to accelerate like he needed to, so they decided to hold him out after a little while.

Freshman defensive tackle Tre Williams was out today after getting banged up in the Wake Forest game, but Swinney hopes the Tigers will get him back in practice next week. Swinney also said sophomore defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro is “going to be out for a little while.” He told reporters earlier this week that Orhorhoro is dealing with a meniscus injury.

Biggest concern entering bye week. Clemson’s biggest concern heading into the open date next weekend is not football related, but rather pandemic related, according to Swinney.

“Just COVID — probably the same primary concern of every coach out there,” Swinney said. “We’ve done great. We’ve had no positives for a couple weeks now and a lot of testing going on. You wake up this morning and it’s 5:30 in the morning and you get that text, ‘Hey, all negative. Play ball, let’s go!’ So, that’s probably the biggest thing is just guys continuing to do a great job, and they have.”

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Network

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