Dabo Swinney ACC teleconference transcript


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THE MODERATOR: We are now joined
by Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.

COACH SWINNEY: Good to be with you
guys today. As Mike just said there, we are
coming off a good opening win, and it's good to
play a game and I think we can certainly get better.
We have got a lot to learn from this first game and
a lot of mistakes, correctible mistakes, especially
from some of our younger guys. So look forward
to playing again this week and trying to just
improve.

It's military appreciation day here at
Clemson and that's always a special time here with
our military heritage. It should be a great day as
we play Wofford.

Injury-wise, we are in pretty good shape.
We have got one guy right now that's doubtful, and
that's Rashard HallRashard Hall
RS Jr. Safety
#31 6-2, 200
St. Augustine, FL

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. Other than that, we are all
hands on board here.

Q. What was the biggest difference
offensively between the first and second half or
was it a matter of the guys getting comfortable
in a game situation?

COACH SWINNEY: Just settling down,
execution. Tajh did not play very well the first half,
and he really was just kind of tight for some
reason, and I don't know if -- just kind of opening
game or whatever but really settled down at the
half, and we just executed so much better in the
second half and put it all together. Defensively it
was pretty solid all day.

Second half, I thought the game got better
as we went as a team and held them to three
points and really just kind of unloaded offensively
in the second half. So that was really good to see,
but that was the biggest thing, just execution.

Q. What did you or Chad say to Tajh at
the half or at any point to calm him down and
get him back on track?

COACH SWINNEY: We just talked about,
you know, just kind of went over things that
happened in the first half and said, hey, listen, just
settle down and just stick to the basics. Put your
eyes on the right things, just focus on the process,
and not get caught up in other things.
Everybody take a deep breath here and
let's go be who we are and let's just do what we
do. We have got to start converting some third
downs, and we are going to get a rhythm and that
was it.

There wasn't anything -- it wasn't a time to
get mad or anything like that. It was just really
more, hey, listen, settle down and just do what
you're coached to do, and everything's going to be
fine. Because they were not really doing anything
drastically different or anything like that that was
causing us problems. We were just really kind of
having some self-inflicted wounds there that first
half. That was about it.

Q. You got three long field goals from
Catanzaro --

COACH SWINNEY: That's the "Cat Man."

Q. Cat Man. Tell me what you saw in
that aspect of the kicking game. Obviously you
had to be really pleased with those results.


COACH SWINNEY: Definitely, it was
great to see that, and he really hit some pressure
kicks for us in that first half to keep us in it. Really
proud of him. But that's how he's performed in
practice, and I think he's just a very mentally tough
young man that had a tough year last year, and
now he's, you know, just growing up and maturing
before our eyes.

Hopefully he will continue to do his job, but
the snap was very consistent by Fajgenbaum, and
our holder, Spencer BentonSpencer Benton
RS Jr. Punter / Kicker
#13 6-2, 195
Myrtle Beach, SC

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, did a great job, and
he just seems to have a lot more confidence. Last
year was the first time, you know, he had been out
in that type of game environment. He did a small
school in high school, and just had some tough
moments. But we are going to need those type of
performances from him as we move forward if we
are going to have a better season this year.

Q. How far out do you think his leg
would be good?


COACH SWINNEY: Well, you know,
probably 52, I might try 55-yarder with him, but to
be honest with you, the longer ones like that, 55,
we would probably go with Spencer Benton.
Spencer is kind of -- that's how we have
designated him. He's our long guy. Although I feel
comfortable with Catanzaro from 50 in. I think he's
got plenty of leg. 52 or so might be toward his
max, although he'll probably tell you -- I love his
attitude, "Hey, 55 Coach, I got it."

So he thinks he can make a long on that
and nothing wrong with that.

Q. You and Florida State each have
games coming up this weekend where you are
going to be big favorites and you've got really
tough ones coming the following weekend.
What challenges do you face, persuading the
kids to stay focused where they are at and what
do you see yourself being able to achieve?
People talk about game one to game two is
sometimes where you make your biggest
strides, but can you do that with the way the
schedule is set up?


COACH SWINNEY: Well, for us, we have
just committed to a standard of best. We talk
about that all the time. Listen, hey, everybody's
got to be committed to doing their best. And really,
you either -- you either perform and work to that
standard or you don't. It shouldn't matter who you
play. We can't all of a sudden next week, we are
going to play Auburn and say, all right, we are
going to really try hard. If that's the way we are
going to be, then you're going to have a lot of
inconsistency.

We just have to focus on our daily
preparation, this is what we do. It's a faceless,
nameless opponent every week. We just have to
focus on the things that we control. And that's our
preparation, our attitudes, work ethic; everybody
be accountable to the man in the mirror of hey, you
are either performing to the standard, or you're not.
That's really all we talk about.

For us, hey, listen, it doesn't take a lot to
motivate these guys, because we are coming off of
a disappointing season, and you only get 12 days,
and those 12 days determine your whole year.
They determine everything, how people talk to you
and so forth, and what they think about you and
what the media writes about you nationally and all
of those things.

So for us, we can't take anybody for
granted. We have got to bring it every week, every
play, and you know, you've got to play to that
standard. And if we do that, when it's all said and
done, I think we can be a good football team.
Wofford is a team, we certainly can't take
for granted. These guys won the Southern
conference last year, and you know, they led the
nation in rush in their division and they present a
huge challenge. If you don't prepare against these
guys, you know, they are very capable of beating
you. Heck, we can just look at our own history
here, in 1981, Clemson won the National
Championship, they played Wofford that year and
was down at the half. This was the National
Championship team.

So we can't take anybody for granted. We
have got to prepare every week to just do our very
best. And as far as improving, you know, the
biggest thing for us and we played -- actually one
of the better opening games that maybe I've ever
been around as far as just we didn't have a lot of
missed assignments, we only had two penalties for
ten yards. We had very few procedural issues,
some of those type of things that happen in a first
game.

So I want to see us be consistent with that,
first of all and I want to see some of those young
mistakes that we made, you know, I want to see us
learn from them. And let's not make the same
mistakes. Let's correct those things that were very
correctible from the first game and to be quite
honest I want to see us pick up where we left off.
Let's put four quarters together, as opposed to
playing a strong half.

Q. Wonder what you thought of
Stephone AnthonyStephone Anthony
Fr. Linebacker
#12 6-2, 220
Wadesboro, NC

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's debut, and are you
looking at red shirting Eric MacLainEric MacLain
Fr. Tight End
#88 6-5, 261
Fayetteville, NC

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?


COACH SWINNEY: We are looking at red
shirting Eric MacLain. We hike him. We think he's
going to be a very good player. We have some
depth at his position with a couple of older guys
right now, and we are trying to hold him. That's the
plan there.



As far as Stephone, he was just
outstanding. His debut in, my eyes, was kind of
like Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
Fr. Wide Receiver
#7 6-2, 200
Fort Myers, FL

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’ debut on the offensive side of
the ball. Just really played well. Had a sack, had a
pass break up that was almost an interception.
You know, plays very fast, very smart, and just
really, you know, got his career going in a very
strong fashion Saturday.

Q. Don't know if you've been asked
about Phillip PricePhillip Price
RS Sr. Offensive Line
#79 6-5, 300
Dillon, SC

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yet; what's your assessment
of how he played in his first game at left
tackle?


COACH SWINNEY: He played very well.
In fact, he was the offensive lineman of the week
for us, just can't say enough good things about
him. He's had a great camp, great spring,
summer, the whole deal. And he has developed
into, we think, a very solid player. His debut here
was going against a guy that's going to be drafted,
no doubt, really, really good player, and Massaquoi
he did a really nice job.

Q. With Hall and the possibility of
surgery that you mentioned yesterday, is that
something he's going to address after the
season or a decision that he might have to
make during the season?


COACH SWINNEY: Well, as I was saying
yesterday it's really hard to answer that. At some
point he's going to have to have it fixed and when
he does that he's going to probably be out about
six weeks.

So obviously he wants to make that --
prolong that and the interesting thing about it is he
doesn't have a lot of pain. He feels like he can go
play. It's just going to be a decision that's based
on how his knee responds to playing. As I said we
are going to try to hold him this week. We have
this special brace that's coming in tomorrow.
I want to see him practice. He's going to
try to play against Auburn and it's either going to
swell up, or it's not, because it really didn't swell up
after this game. He could have kept playing. So
that's going to determine; if this brace helps and
there's no swelling or anything like that, then
obviously he wants to keep playing.

But you know, if we have a reaction, then
we'll have to probably go ahead and do the
surgery. But obviously we want to do it later rather
than sooner. But even yesterday he ran with the
team and looked good and feels good, but there's
something that at some point it's going to have to
be repaired.

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