Clemson vs. Wake Forest pre-game press conference


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AUDIO: Dabo Swinney press conference (WMA Format)


Swinney Press Conference Transcript


Opening Statement:

"It is good to get back to work. We had good practice last night and some good energy. I'm really proud of our team for how they respond. These guys are amazing. They have the right stuff. That's a great quality to have in life: to be able to get knocked down seven times and get up eight.


"That was as hurt a locker room as I've ever been around on Saturday night. When you put everything you've got into something and you don't have success, it's a tough pill to swallow. I'm just proud of these guys as far as their attitudes and their will to keep working.


"Wake Forest has struggled this year in the win/loss column. They're very well coached and they play hard. They're also a very young team. This will be their senior day so that will be a big day for them.


"This is our last opportunity to win on the road so we're going to have to go and play good football. They play very tough at home, just look at their scores.


"Offensively, they're tough to prepare for because they have so many different personnel groups. They don't really have something that they live and die by every single week. They do a good job mixing schemes up and they're playing two quarterback. Chris Givens and Devon Brown can really run, and Marshall Williams is more of their big possession guy.



"Running Back Josh Adams is back and Josh Harris is having a good year for them as a freshman.
"The other thing that creates an issue is that they've mixed in a lot of the option this year. Having to prepare for that is another element to deal with this week. For us defensively, it's about winning battles at the line of scrimmage.


"Defensively, they're playing 10 freshmen and five sophomores in their two-deep. They've gone to an odd front and that's something that's a little different. They're not very big and they're very young up front.


"They don't ever stay still which creates problems for you. We have to do a great job of collecting them. This is a game where our backs have to have great vision. DE Kyle Wilbur is a very good player. He's the guy that stands out in the linebacker corp. They're very young in the secondary.


"The biggest thing for us is execution and finishing with points. In the last three games, we've had eight drives of nine plays or more where we've come away with zero points. The offensive linemen are playing as good of football as I've seen since I've been here.


"It's just tough being an OL right now. We're getting a lot of doubles and stranding them on third base. We've just got to have points.


"This is our chance to win on the road and to get bowl eligible.


"We should be ok health-wise. Brandon Maye has some concussion issues, and he may not practice today, but Kourtnei Brown should be back. "


On status of Andre Ellington:

"He's out for sure this week. Our hope is that he will be able to go against South Carolina. He jogged yesterday and did some straight-ahead running on the indoor track. We'll evaluate him next week and if he can play, he'll play."


On lack of road wins:

"We have the right mentality, we just haven't made some key plays. No one wants to hear that we're a few plays from 9-1, but that's the reality. We have four road losses by 17 points. That's the bottom line. We lose in OT to the #2 team (Auburn) in the country by a field goal; lose to FSU by a 55-yarder, and both of those games I think we physically won.


"We've just got to keep getting better. I'm not happy with the way it's been on the road. That's what's keeping us from having a great year. I have to focus on the overall plan and process of what we're doing and how we're doing it. From that standpoint, I know we're doing the right things.


"These guys have come to play but for whatever reason, we've had some tough things to deal with on the road. The defense is playing championship caliber. The offense just hasn't gotten many points in the red zone to capitalize on that.


"Red zone scoring is a combination of touchdown and field goals. We just haven't had that good combination. That's an area that we haven't performed well in this year.


"(Chandler) Catanzaro - write this down - that kid is a freshman. He hasn't had the same success on the field that he's had in practice. He's had a tough year but I'm going to hang in there and keep believing in him. It's not where we are or what's behind us, it's about where we're going."


On play of Da'Quan Bowers:

"He is a perfect example of a guy maturing. He's just matured throughout his career and has just been a real inspiration to everyone. He's played one of the best seasons that anybody in the country has played this year. We're just very proud of him.


"He's really become an emotional leader for our team. He refuses to quit. He just lays it all on the line for his teammates and for Clemson. He just continues to come back. He just continues to be a leader. He'll go play a great game this week and that's what you're supposed to do.


On motivation:

"You can't win a bowl game unless you get to a bowl game. We haven't had back-to-back bowl wins at Clemson since the 1989-90 seasons (in consecutive years). There's still a lot of stuff out there to play for. We're still in year two of building this program the way we want it.


"This year hasn't quite gone the way we want it to go on the scoreboard, but that doesn't mean we haven't made some progress. When we look back on this season, we're going to see that we made some progress. It's just going to be a scar to remind us of our growing pains.


"I just need a little bit of patience to build this program and get it the way we want it. Everyone needs to back off the cliff, let me do my job, not be destructive, and we're going to be alright."


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