Dabo Swinney and Bobby Bowden Weekly Press Conferences


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Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney Quotes

On Florida State game

“Big game this week, they are all big, but this is a great opportunity for our team to go
on the road again. It is another really good football team. It’s a real privilege to go on
the field and shake Bobby Bowden’s hand, but it will be very unusual and under
awkward circumstances. He is a man that I have a tremendous amount of respect for, I
have watched him my whole life. We are both Alabama guys, who were born in
Birmingham. He has always been a real gentleman to me so I am looking forward to
that.


“Defensively, they are very good, not hard to figure out. They just come at you. We have
to man up to get these guys. They are good for a reason and have been good for quite
some time. Mickey Andrews is one of the best in the business. It will be a huge
challenge to execute, if we make the mistakes we made last week it will be hard to
overcome these guys. They have a lot of team speed and will be able to match our
athleticism and talent. Up front they are what they are, athletic. Everette Brown, 99, is
one of the best we have played against all year. I think he leads the league in tackles for
loss and top three in sacks, so it will be a big challenge. Their linebackers can run, and
those secondary guys it seems like they have been there forever. They will be able to
match us talent-wise, skill-wise, and depth-wise.


They have always been good on defense and struggled offensively, but now they are
playing much better on offense. Jimbo Fisher has done a great job. The quarterback
(Christian Ponder) is making plays for them. He is third leading rushing quarterback in
the conference even with splitting some time. The big task for us on defense will be
containing Ponder. They have some outstanding skill outside that will challenge us on
the perimeter and their running back Smith is having a great year. We will have our
hands full, but I am pleased with the team.


Q: Are you going to have to run the ball better

A: Definitely, I think we had 87 yards rushing against Boston College. I was hoping for
around 150, but we had some sacks really hurt us. But we absolutely need to run better.
That was one of the things that helped us in the Boston college game was off of our play
actions. We made some plays last week and it opened up some things. We hit that big
play outside with C.J. Spiller and that allowed us to come right at them with James Davis
to score our first touchdown. We will have a similar approach again this week. The first
thing we have to do in any game is figure out how to run the ball.


Q: When you look back at the film from last week and Cullen Harper’s
interceptions, was it as simple as he just made bad decisions?


A: The first interception he just didn’t go through his progression. He had Jacoby, but
just didn’t go through the proper progression. The second interception, Tyler was a little
tight on his lineman, and he was a little late on the throw. I was probably most
disappointed in the last one. It was a first-down play call with similar play action to a
play in the first half. We need to get Harper to check the guys, and he has a lot of
confidence in his arm and he wants to win the game with one throw. I try to tell him to
just drive the car, do what you are coached to do and we will be just fine. Now he made
a great throw at the end of the game to Aaron Kelly, and put it where only he can make a
play on it. I am proud of Cullen, we just need to correct the mistakes and he will learn
from it.


Q: Did you send a message to Cullen Harper to stay aggressive?

A: Absolutely, I told him I don’t want you to get tight, just stay loose. I don’t want
anybody playing tight. The players have this hang loose mentality that they have jumped
on. Cullen just has to play loose, he is a good player and has a big arm. The biggest
problem last week was we didn’t put them away when we had to chance. That was the
disappointing offensively, and it is something we are going to work on for this week. We
took the next step by winning last week, and were able to win in spite of mistakes and
achieved our goal of winning the game. This week we need to play a complete game,
and that is what it is going to take to beat Florida State.


Q: What is the difference between last year and this year with Cullen (Harper)?

A: A big part of that is we had four seniors up front last year and he got in a comfort
zone. He have had some unfortunate interceptions that weren’t his fault, but with the
inconsistency up front, he has tried to do too much some times. He had the weight of the
world on him at the beginning of the season, these are probably the biggest things.
Sometimes you just try to do too much, Cullen is a great player and I am trying to coach
him so that he can make good plays. He is playing with emotion and making plays with
his feet, working on our scramble drills and doing a better job of running than he was in
the beginning of the year.


Q: How big is your effort to involve C.J. (Spiller) in the offense?

A: That guy gives you a chance to win every time he touches it. He is a great player, and
that is what we are going to try to do every week is get it to the guys who can win it for
us. Right now Spiller is going to be a huge part of what we do every week just like
Davis, Grisham, Ford, Kelly, Palmer. These are the guys who have been there done that
and give us a chance to win every week. Spiller is a huge part of that just like those other
guys we have to spread the ball around.


Q: On relationship with Assistant Coach Billy Napier

A: Billy has been fun to work with, and he has done a good job with the quarterbacks.
He is very organized and we think a lot a like. He has good ideas. It has been a work in
progress and we are starting to settle in. We are efficient with our time and creating a
consistent game plan. He has been a huge help to me, I learned there is no way I could
do this by myself.


Q: What are the biggest things you have learned?

A: I learned I can’t do it by myself, you better have good people around you. You have
to be organized and delegate the right things to people. I learned you have to believe you
can do this job, I thought I could and now I know I can do the job. People are watching
what you do all the time, and I haven’t been used to that. When I do something as simple
as correct the punter and make his butt run off the field there are 80,000 people in the
stands cheering. You show people you care about them, and they will work hard for you.
You have to be who you are, and I am just trying to be me and do the best job I can under
the circumstances. I have a tablet that has the things I have learned each week. I have
gone through a couple of tablets already.


Q: Has Florida State’s offense finally kicked in?

A: I think it has. They have found a really good player in Christian Ponder and
D’Vontrey Richardson is playing well too. Ponder has kept them alive. They are still
going through some growing pains up front, but Jimbo Fisher has done a really good job.
I think they are number one in total offense through all their games on offense. They are
good, and they can score and are dangerous. They have been good on defense ever since
I have been here, but they have been inconsistent on offense, and they have made a lot of
improvements there.


Q: How do you feel your defense is doing?

A: The defense has been outstanding. They have played well all year, but it has been 58
minutes. The Maryland game they played well all game, then gave up a big play. The
Wake Forest game they played well the whole game, gave up a huge third and long (24)
to win the game. Then Georgia Tech they did the same thing 58 minutes, and allowed a
huge third and long completion. This week they didn’t give up anything. They played 60
minutes, and they shut them down. We gave them some bad field position, but the
defense made them earn the points. They are getting better and better, one of the top
defenses in the country. We still have more opportunities for improvement, but no
question they are giving us a chance to win every game.

Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden Quotes


Are you concerned what kind of impact a close loss like the Georgia Tech loss could
have on a young team like that?


We will attack it positively. It was just like the other games where we were fixing to win
it like we did in the other games, but we turned the ball over and had we not, we probably
would have won it. We don't want them to feel like they are a bunch of losers.
Is it possible that you did not think about protecting the ball before the play?
I had the night before in our staff meeting where I go over all our plans, and things to
look out for, and stuff like that. I had mentioned – I think the last thing I had mentioned is
that when you are on that goal line, be sure to wrap that ball up. I usually say that every
Friday night.

Have you ever lost a game in that way?

No, sure haven't, first time. I guess if you live long enough, everything will happen. No,
that's the first time we've lost one like that. I was thinking about the decision whether we
were going to go for the touchdown and win the game, or go for three and tie it up.
Naturally with another down, or two more downs to decide if we were going to go for the
win. We were going to go for the win.
Are you still confident in the defense?

Well, I just don't know what to expect. I think we will do better against a team that
doesn't run the triple option, that's an entirely different world. I thought for sure that we
would do better against it than what we did than we have in the past. We just have to pass
that off as not a good game.

Do you have a sense of how this team is maturing because of how they have reacted
over the wins over the pass four games?


I think they have got it. I think they have got the resolve, and the will, and the desire, and
fight because they never gave up the other night. They never gave up. It was tough
hanging on. All we had to do was to get in that end zone and the game was ours. They
didn't have time to come back and win it. But dadgummit, it was just one of those things.
Then when that ball came out in the end zone, two of our guys were close enough to get
it, but they got it instead of us. The kids showed no sign of giving up or laying down or
anything like that. When it seemed like we would get back in the game, they had us by
14, we closed it to four, then all of the sudden they break that long run again and get
ahead of us again. We just kept coming back and the end we had them struggling.

Do you remember a team you have coached that responded well to a heartbreaking
loss?


I don't think I've had one that had that kind of loss. Seems like all of those I have been in
seems like missed field goals would be very much like it. We've had enough field goals
where if we kicked the field goal we would win the game and we would miss it and they
win it. This is kind of like it, but not quite like this one. When you are down 14 points
and you come back, and here you nearly come back and win it. I haven't been through
that too much other than the missed field goals.

What was the mood on the plane on the trip home?

I think they will always be somber. I think somber is a way you could describe it.
Nobody is crying, nobody is laughing, just somber.

In the last couple of games we have seen a re-emergence of Greg Carr, how much
has his game changed over the last couple of years?


He is so much more dependable now. He is so much more consistent. He was always
kind of dependable, but now he is more consistent. I think he catches more, you know. I
hope we will continue to go to him because he is so dadgum dependable.
Was it a tough adjustment for Greg Carr to go from a fade pass receiver to one who
goes over the middle and those kind of things?

It was a tough adjustment, but it was an adjustment he was challenged with when
(Lawrence) Dawsey and Jimbo (Fisher) and them came in. He was challenged with that,
to become the complete receiver. You have got to go inside, you have got to go down the
line, or you have to come straight across the middle. We worked on it and he has done a
real good job. I think he's very comfortable.

When there has been one of those missed field goal games, what did you come back
with and tell your team?


Well, we usually came back and won. We really shouldn't have been there in the first
place. If we would have stopped them like we should have, we wouldn't have been there
in the first place. But the thing is, you can show them how when you are nearly down and
out, you still almost won the game. We will never know how close that came to being a
masterpiece. I mean that game could have been a masterpiece. If we would have scored,
that would have gone down as I'll bet you, one of the top four comebacks in Florida State
history. Maybe top three. The choke at Doak, the one at Georgia Tech in 1992, and then
another one somewhere that doesn't come to mind. This would have been classic.

Are you confident that the coaches and players will get this headed back in the right
direction?


I'm confident in the attitude, I'm not worried about the attitude. The attitude was excellent
last night. We fought 60 minutes. The thing about that is, we haven't had a let up. Every
game we have played has been 60 minutes. Every game we have played, the last play of
the game you better not make a mistake. The attitude of the kids has been good. I'm not
worried about that. I've got to be sure that we coaches do a sound coaching job so that we
can get these kids opportunities to win. That is offensively and defensively. I haven't seen
any indications of let up out of them.

It seems like every week you have been in some close games.

Yeah you are right. We haven't had a game where we could take the first team out and
play the second team a quarter or a half like the first two games of the year. Everything
has been close, close, close. We have to play 60 minutes of football. We are getting some
great experience now, but just don't get hurt. If you are going to have injuries you have to
survive that. I think we have been fortunate in that regard.

How much better has Michael Ray Garvin been as a kick returner and what is his
status?


He has played a lot better. He has had his best year returning kicks. I feel real good with
him back there. I like him because he is a north-south runner, and he's got world class
speed. If he finds a crease he has got a chance to go all the way. I have been very pleased
with him. I haven't talked to the doctors today, I don't know if you all have or not, but I
hope he is ok.

Q: How do you think Marcus Sims will respond after the fumble in the Georgia
Tech game?


He will respond positively. The week before, Virginia Tech, he made the big touchdown
down there. He is really one of the best goal line runners we've got especially going north
and south. Against Virginia Tech, he knocked it in from the one yard line, went over the
top, and if you remember when he hit the ground, the ball came out and they had to
review that one so that it didn't count as a fumble. That is one reason that I reminded him
of that Friday night. He just has to put those things out of his mind. You all watch pro
football a lot and there are these great players and they have to keep playing, they have to
keep going on.

What are your feelings about not having Tommy on the sideline against Clemson?

We will like that. It was getting where Ann, especially my wife, she just got so tired of –
she can't win because she takes a lot of pride. She wants me to win, she wants Tommy to
win, she wants Terry, and all of them to win. So when Tommy and I play, she can't win.
And of course I didn't like it either, because I didn't like it when he beats me. And when I
beat him, I feel for him. I am so happy, this is the first time in ten years I don't have to
worry about Tommy being on the other side looking at me, or me looking at him.

Is there any additional motivation to beating Clemson because of the way things
happened there?


No. I just want to go out and win the game. People will think that, oh well you're going to
try to beat them bad because they fired your son. No I'm not. No I'm not. He had 10
wonderful years at Clemson. He will tell anyone that. I really have no animosity toward
them. Then of course Dabo Swinney, Tommy coached him at Alabama so he kind of
raised him really. I like him, but I'm still going to try to beat him.

D'Vontrey Richardson and Jermaine Thomas were instrumental in getting back in
the game. Do you feel like they need to be in the game more?


Yeah. When a game like that comes along, there are some things in there that make you
happy, that encourage you. I think Jimbo does a great job of splicing these things in and
things like that. I can see that we need to get Jermaine, I mean he nearly won the dadgum
ball game by himself.

Every time Jermaine has been on the field, it seems like he has been extremely
productive.


Well he really has. In that Virginia Tech game he wasn't I don't think. But in that Miami
game he averaged 25 yards a carry which you reminded me of on Sunday morning. Of
course, he had that great game yesterday. It's very encouraging. Deuce is beginning to do
that. He didn't practice Monday or Tuesday, but ran Wednesday and Thursday. He needs
some rest, so I feel much better about that right now.
Do you remember any former players that had issues with fumbling but later on
became dependable guys?

Most of them. Most of the backs we have had here fumbled early. It's kind of a natural –
they get hit harder. They get hit harder in college than they do in high school. Some of
them learn how to protect the ball. I haven't seen nearly as many freshmen fumble the
ball. He will have to learn how to protect it. You never know, it might be his last fumble.

Will it be a different dynamic talking to Tommy this week?

I'm sure I won't talk to him much. Tommy wouldn't dare spill the beans on them to me.
Most of those kids, he coached those kids, and he will pull for those kids. Will he pull for
them against me? Probably. Not necessarily against me, but just to show he is a good
recruiter. He wouldn't dare come by here, and I wouldn't ask him to. He wouldn't say well
this guy has this weakness, and that guy has that weakness, he wouldn't do that.

With Michigan losing, you guys take over the consecutive bowl streak. Are you kind
of surprised where they are?


Well it is an amazing thing. We were having such great success, and all of the sudden we
didn't have it anymore and I can't understand it. You can't do it forever. It won't go on
forever. I think Michigan might have had 35 or 36 bowls in a row. Now all of the sudden
they are not bowl eligible, but who would have suspected that? I wouldn't have thought
that. They will be back. We have to fight hard so we can maintain the streak for
ourselves.

Have you talked to Tommy recently?

Yeah I have talked to him several times since he left. And that Thursday about a week
ago he stayed with us on his way from Panama City, Florida back up to Clemson. Now
he is back down in Panama City. I'll be honest with you, Tommy and I have probably
talked three or four times since he left Clemson. We have not mentioned one Clemson
player.

You have a birthday coming up next week, how tough are these close games on you?

When you win them, they are just great, fantastic. When you lose them – here is a game
that looks like we are fixing to win it. When the game is going you think well were fixing
to pull another one out. Then it happened and it's bad. It hurts.

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