Dabo Swinney ACC teleconference transcript


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Audio of Dabo Swinney's teleconference (MP3 Format)

COACH SWINNEY: Well, we got our
biggest challenge yet this week this Florida State.
This is a really good football team. Didn't take us
long to get over that last one when we turned the
film on and watched these guys. They are very,
very talented and capable of I think being a Top-10
team.

So we are going to have to play our best
game this week to have a chance to win it. But we
are off to a good start. We'll practice and look
forward to hosting these guys in Death Valley this
weekend.

Q. Wanted to get your take on the
expansion of the ACC, your opinion on it, and if
the conference did go to 16 teams are there any
other teams that you would like to see the
conference submit an invite to?


COACH SWINNEY: Well, to be honest
with you, I've said several times, I'm really just
focused on the here and now. There's so much
going on right now. Who knows what's what and
where it's ever going to end or when it's all going to
happen. I mean, there's just too many unknowns
for me to really spend a lot of brainpower worrying
about it to be honest with you.

I've got all I can handle on this season and
this team and this conference the way it is today.
I'll worry about the rest later. I'm a little, you know,
more -- I lean more to being a traditional kind of a
guy, and I'm a little sad to be honest with you to
see what's going on in college football just from a
tradition standpoint and the change.

But, hey, it is what it is, and you know,
we'll embrace the changes as they come. But it's
not anything that I'm spending a lot of time thinking
about right now.

Q. Before the season I asked about
who was possibly the biggest surprise you had
seen to this point and you said Sammy
Watkins, and he's validated that and then
some. Is he even better than you might have
anticipated to this point?


COACH SWINNEY: Well, he's really just
doing what he's done in practice since the day he
got here. And that's kind of why I said he was the
biggest surprise and that's because, you know, I
knew he was talented, but it's rare that you see a
freshman that has the knowledge. He's polished,
he's tough, the work ethic, the maturity. He's got
all of those things, and that's why it was such a
surprise to me that he was that far along. He looks
like he's been playing three or four years.

But he's been -- he's just really done
what in the games what he's done in practice.
People are just now seeing it. So I'm not surprised
with what he's doing based on, you know, how I
saw him prepare and perform in our camp.

Q. How would you describe him as a
receiver? What are his best assets that have
carried him through these first three games?

COACH SWINNEY: Well, he really
doesn't have any weaknesses as far as the skill set
of the position. You know, Jacoby FordJacoby Ford
Wide Receiver
#6 5-9, 175
Royal Palm Beach, FL

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was here,
the guy was a great player and is a starter in the
NFL, but a weakness for him is he's not a
physically big guy.

There's always something that you can
usually point out with different people with. This
guy, he's got great size. He's a 6-1 plus guy, 207
pounds. He can fly. He's got great hands. He's
tough. You know, he's got a great work ethic.
He's explosive, in and out of touch. I think he
really has everything -- when God made this one,
He was in a great mood that day.

So I mean, there's just really not much that
he doesn't have as far as being able to be great at
the position.

Q. Have you figured out who is mad at
you at the ACC office or your own athletic
office with this stretch of Auburn, Florida State
and Virginia Tech?


COACH SWINNEY: (Laughing) Oh, man,
well, I don't know, you just take it as it comes. And
one thing I've learned is nothing is easy, and
there's no shortcuts. You know, if you want to be
the best, you've got to go beat the best, and we
certainly have a schedule that gives us that
opportunity. And that's really how we have looked
at it.

When it came out this spring, that's what I
told the team: We have a schedule of champions,
and let's embrace it and let's look at it as an
opportunity as opposed to an insurmountable
challenge.

It's a tough road for sure, but you know,
we are just taking it one day at a time, one game at
a time and just trying to play each play the very
best we can and you know, when it's all said and
done, look up and see what the results are.

Q. When you look at Florida State on
film, do they look better than Auburn in any
certain areas?


COACH SWINNEY: Yeah, I think they are
a better football team than Auburn this year.
Auburn is a very talented team. They have got a
lot of young players. And I think that they will
continue to get better and better as the season
goes and they are going to win some games.

But Florida State, you know, again, like I
say, they are, in my eyes, look like a legitimate
Top-10 team. I know they slipped out of the
Top-10 this year but only because -- or this week
because they played the No. 1 team and got beat.
But they match up physically and they present a lot
of problems with their athleticism and their speed.
They play hard. You know, the talent is not a
problem with those guys, that's for sure.

We have got our, by far, toughest task.

Q. Where do you think you made the
most improvement from the first two weeks of
the season to last week and beating Auburn?

COACH SWINNEY: Well, we still had a
few things that are hurting us, like some big plays
where we are, you know, really kind of some
uncontested big plays where we have got to do a
better job than that.

But I think offensively, we played our most
physical game, and that was probably the biggest
improvement. We knew that we were going to
have to get better. We did a great job with our
protection. We didn't do a good job last week.
And so, you know and then again, we are
continuing to be a dominant second half team.

But I just felt like we played a little bit more
of a complete game last week than the first two.
They are not anywhere close to where we need to
be. But you know, we are making progress in all
the areas. And our special teams were very solid
last week, that's one of the things I think are going
to be critical in this game are the special teams.
That's what it came down to last year, and they got
the better end of it.

Q. I'm sure you've been asked this a lot
this season but you have a lot of multiple
threats on offense; just talk about how tough it
is to defend you guys.


COACH SWINNEY: Well, you know, that's
what you want to have. We certainly didn't have
that last year. Then when we lost Ellington, we
were a very predictable type of team. Whereas
this year, people have to defend our quarterback.
They have to defend several guys at receiver.
They have to defend Dwayne AllenDwayne Allen
RS Jr. Tight End
#83 6-3, 245
Fayetteville, NC

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. They have to
defend Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Jr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 190
Moncks Corner, SC

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and that creates problems.

We are putting as many playmakers on the
field as we possibly can, and we have got
confidence in a lot of guys, and there are still some
guys that have not had a lot of opportunity yet that
we think are going to continue to emerge and at
some point be a difference-maker in the game for
us.

So for example, Charone PeakeCharone Peake
Fr. Wide Receiver
#19 6-4, 210
Moore, SC

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, he has
not caught a pass yet and he has probably had two
of the biggest plays of our game this past
Saturday. He's backing up Jaron BrownJaron Brown
RS Jr. Wide Receiver
#18 6-2, 200
Cheraw, SC

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.

So we are very fortunate right now with the
guys we have, and it does create problems when
they can't just zero in on one guy and that's what
we want. We want to be able to spread the ball
around. Tajh is doing a great job with that, and
hopefully we can continue to develop some of our
young backs to where Andre can stay fresh and
not have to carry the whole burden.

Q. How tough can it be to focus on
preparing for a team when you've got kind of a
quarterback controversy at Florida State where
if you're not sure if EJ Manuel is going to play
or not, how challenging is that to prepare for?


COACH SWINNEY: Well, we just have to
prepare for Florida State and what they do and
what they have done. The biggest difference is,
you know, they really like to run Manuel. If he
doesn't play, it's probably to change a little bit as
far as how they call the came. They will probably
just do more of something else that's already within
their package and system.

We are just prepared for everything that
we have seen and then we have to make
adjustments as we get into the game and really
see what direction it's going.

Q. Is there an easy explanation for your
record against them at home, you've won four
in a row at home, and FSU historically is a
good road team; the games you've been
involved in, where you've beaten them, is there
anything in common that's happened during
this little streak you've got on them?

COACH SWINNEY: Well, we have just
played well on that day. This is a tough place to
play, just like going down there and winning in
Tallahassee, it's not an easy task. And most of the
time, that's the way it is when you go on the road.
It's tough to win on the road, regardless of where
you go and certainly Death Valley is one of the
toughest venues in all of college football.

Those, whatever streak or whatever, on
those particular days, we had the better football
team. That's about it.

Q. You seem to have more and more
North Carolina on your team than anybody in
the in-state schools, what's been your secret to
getting the North Carolina kids down there?

COACH SWINNEY: Well, the emphasis
that we put on recruiting that State is No. 1, and
then it's the people we have recruiting. We have a
great coaching staff and we have a lot of guys with
a lot of North Carolina ties. They have done a
great job, that are highly respected by the high
school coaches. We put a lot of work into North
Carolina, and we have got four or five coaches up
there covering that state.

We are very close to North Carolina
obviously. We are right here at the line, so it's an
easy place to sell to those young men up there.
And then we have had success with a lot of North
Carolina players, and I think that that history helps
you with your credibility as you go out on the road
recruiting.

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