Dabo Sunday teleconference


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Audio of Dabo Swinney's teleconference (MP3 Format)


CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said during his Sunday teleconference that he is happy to be 4-0, but also realizes his team has a lot of work to do before next Saturday’s next with Virginia Tech.

“We're really happy to be 4-0. I'm proud of our team for finding a way to win,” Swinney said. “We made a bunch of mistakes in that game. If we're going to achieve our ultimate goals, we'll have to improve. They made some mistakes, too. But there were just way too many issues in all three phases that can cost you. But we're happy to get a win. To have the amount of offense we had was good.”

Despite giving up 23 defensive points and a big day to a quarterback making his first start, Swinney said it was his team’s best defensive effort.

"Defensively, we improved and I felt it was probably our best game,” he said. “We did a good job of stopping the run. They hit us on a couple of big plays. We didn't have some of the busts that we'd been having. We tackled much better and we were good on third down. I'm really proud of our defense, but we've got a ways to go. “

Other notes

On the injury status of punter Dawson ZimmermanDawson Zimmerman
Sr. Punter / Kicker
#96 6-2, 205
Lawrenceville, GA

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"He looked pretty good today. He's probably going to be limited
tomorrow and Tuesday. We'll see how he does Wednesday. I think he'll feel
much better by Thursday than he feels today. We'll prepare Spencer today
but hopefully Dawson will be ready to roll Wednesday or Thursday. The
other is Nuk Hopkins. He's a little sore today. We'll have to see how he
does tomorrow. Hopefully he'll be able to go on Tuesday. He'll be limited
tomorrow."

On being noticed nationally

"That stuff is not relevant. We're just trying to get better and
stay focused on how we practice and the standard we want to play to. We're
really happy to be 4-0. We're playing a difficult schedule, so I'm happy
with where we are but we are not satisfied. We've got a long way to go.
September doesn't make a season, but it's good people are talking about
Clemson. We've still got a whole month of October and November. We just
have to stay focused."

On Tajh playing back home in Virginia

" He didn't go there for whatever
reason. Tajh will be focused on trying to prepare and winning the game,
regardless of who we're playing. We just have to stay consistent with our
performance and not let emotions determine how we prepare. He's got some
mistakes he has to correct and that's what his focus will be. I'm sure
he'll be excited to go back to Virginia."

On Tajh fitting in Chad Morris’ system

. "I think Tajh would have been a great quarterback in whatever
offense. He's a winner. But he's perfect for what we do. We're taking
advantage of all his skills. He can hurt you with his legs, he's a very
good thrower and a good decision-maker. I'm really pleased with what he's
done to this point. He's made some mistakes and had a blunder with the
fumble, but he's been incredibly impressive. But he's started four games.
He's just what I thought he'd be. I can't wait to see him reach his
potential. He's been accurate. He's made good decisions. He's thrown one
interception. He's thrown 13 touchdowns. That pretty much says it all
right there, and he's at 66-percent completion for the year. He's the only
QB in the history of this school with three touchdowns or more in four
straight games. Those things are signs that we've got the right guy."



On if he has talked to his team about environment at Lane Stadium

"No. We enjoyed that victory yesterday and our players are off
today. They come in tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. I did mention to them that we've
done well here at home and now it's time to go on the road. As far as
talking in particulars about what to expect, we haven't gotten to that
yet. We'll tell them about the environment and talk to them about it.
It'll be like Death Valley, but they'll be yelling at us as opposed to for
us. We'll pump in some crowd noise, too."


On maintaining focus

"We went back to work after a big win against Auburn. It's the first
time we've won back to back games against ranked opponents in 20 years. I
hope they handle 4-0 like they did 3-0. We do have great leadership on
this team. And I'm excited about that. They've done a really good job of
leading. We've got a good mixture of veterans and young guys. The young
guys who are playing are pretty mature. That's why they're having the
success they're having."


On the three-game stretch of Auburn, FSU and Va. Tech

"A lot of people were mad about the schedule when it came out.
People were talking about what we couldn't do. We looked at it as an
opportunity. We've called it the schedule of champions. This will be the
fifth week in a row of facing a champion from last year. We’ve played the Sun Belt champions, the Souther Conference champions, the SEC and national champions, the Atlantic Division champions and now the ACC champions. We have an opportunity to make ourselves relevant if we take care of business. We're not a great team. We're just 4-0 and we've found a way to win. It hasn't been pretty but the results are all that matter."


On surprise of Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
Fr. Wide Receiver
#7 6-1, 200
Fort Myers, FL

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"What everyone is seeing is what we saw in practice for three weeks.
He was incredible from the moment he got here and was dominant. He's very
difficult to handle from a matchup standpoint. He's mature and humble and
doesn't say anything. For three weeks, everyday, we saw it. It only took
him a couple of days to win the starting job. I'm glad to see it carry
over from the practice field to the games. What you're seeing is how he
practiced."

Defensive strategy against Virginia Tech

"I'm familiar with their offense. Their quarterback is a giant. They
have a great running back. We've still got a lot to learn on them before
we've got the direction we want to go in. We'll study them and defend what
they do. The thing I know about them is that their physical. That's what
this game will come down to. We'll have to defend the run. You let them
run the ball all over you, it'll be a long day. That's always our main
objective - try to run and defend the run."

On status of Bryce McNealBryce McNeal
RS So. Wide Receiver
#11 6-1, 180
Minneapolis, MN

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"We'll visit with him tomorrow and see where it goes from there. I think he missed Wednesday and Thursday. He's got some personal things he's evaluating. We'll discuss it further at the appropriate time.”

On Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Jr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 190
Moncks Corner, SC

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"We'll continue to be smart with our practice reps. He wasn't
100-percent but he was able to gut it out. I think that was a good sign
that he's healing pretty good. Hopefully with another week, we can get him
100-percent or close to it by the time we play at 6pm on Saturday."

On Tony StewardTony Steward
Fr. Linebacker
#7 6-1, 245
Hastings, FL

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and why he hasn’t played much

“Just get better. We talked about Tony and Stephone today. Tony was
going in twice Saturday but we ended up going dime because of the
personnel FSU sent out. But he had a good week of practice. Same thing
with Stephone. As this thing goes, you'll see them get on the field more
and more. They're more and more confident, but this is a very complex
system we run here. We've been fighting for our life these last couple of
games and we haven't had a lot of snaps on defense. They'll both be real
factors for us this year."

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