Dabo on being voted best team in the ACC, differences from 2012

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Selected quotes from Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
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from Monday’s press conference at the ACC Football Kickoff.

On if he thinks he has best team in ACC. [Clemson was voted the preseason favorite by the media on Tuesday.]
I don’t know that. I know we have a good team. I know we have a lot of guys coming back that have proven that they can play winning football. I don’t have an idea what everybody else has.

On the coaching staff, and it being the best he has had at Clemson
I think we have an outstanding coaching staff, and we have good continuity. It is going to take a championship effort by our coaching staff to prepare this team for what’s coming.

Difference between this year and 2012
Last year, we were a major work in progress on the defense, but they finished on a high note. I think when all is said and done after this year that people will say our defensive front seven was the strength of this team.

On playing Georgia early
There is no question we need to be at midseason form and hitting on all cylinders right out of the gate.

On eight conference games
I like eight conference games. It gives you the flexibility if you want to have that outside flavor.

They are a great program, and they are well-coached. They have a great tradition, and the winner of that game has gone on to play for the championship, so that game is critical for both programs. The margin of error is small. Last year, I thought it was about as good as we have played down there, and then you get a 90-yard kickoff return and then we lost momentum. It is easy to lose momentum when you have two teams battling it out. Hopefully, we can continue to both put great teams out there and maybe one of us can put a dominant year together and for play for a national championship.

On what Tajh Boyd can do better
Tajh just has to be who he is. If you go back to his high school days, he has gotten better every year, and he has done that every year with us. He led our team in fumbles, threw interceptions that shouldn't have been thrown and he took eight sacks that were all on him. There is a lot of room for improvement. But when he takes the field this year, the average fan should think, 'That guy has been playing a long time and knows what he is doing.' If he stays healthy, I think that is what we will see this year.

On difference between now and 2008 [last year picked to win ACC]
A lot of water under bridge since then. We are a different program and a different team. But yeah, don't go 3-3 and stay true to what we believe in. The mentality has to be right, but our guys expect to win and they respect each other and themselves.

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