Swinney, Goodwin agree that it was 'ugly' at one position Saturday
|Sunday, September 25, 2022, 7:00 AM- -|
WINSTON-SALEM, NC – Dabo Swinney knows that Saturday’s game was ugly at one position. So ugly, he almost checked into the game to play.
Clemson’s secondary was without safety Andrew Mukuba, senior corner Sheridan Jones, corner Malcolm Greene, and sophomore corner Nate Wiggins was limited all week with a hamstring injury. The corners and the Tigers were called for five pass interference penalties for 75 yards, all part of giving up 337 yards through the air to go with six touchdowns.
"Defensively, it was ugly at one position, obviously,” Swinney said after the game. "The only good thing I can say is we gave up six touchdown passes, not seven. That's the only good thing I can say."
What were the issues?
“Letting get them behind us, get inside. When it's press bail, you stay on top. When you call Cover 2, you play Cover 2, don't float,” Swinney said. “Fred Davis hasn't played a whole lot, so he's still finding himself. Thought we had a couple of tough PI calls that went against us that gave them momentum. We'll do a better job of getting it cleaned up. Mike Reed is as good as there is in the business, guarantee he'll get it fixed."
Swinney was asked if the coaches considered giving the corners more safety help, and he said yes – the Tigers were in Tampa 2 the last play of the game when Nate Wiggins knocked down the last-ditch pass by the Demon Deacons.
"We did, because I was about to go play corner. We had to make some adjustments,” Swinney said. “Now you kind of take your safeties out of it. You're short a guy and they're riding it into the A gap."
Defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin agreed with Swinney’s “ugly” comment.
“It was obviously really ugly from a defensive standpoint. But we found a way to get one more play and win the game,” Goodwin said before adding that the young corners have to grow up. “Playing back there, it's a lonely position. And all young DBs go through it. They have to learn to believe in themselves and have confidence. They just have to continue to believe in themselves and respond every day and have confidence. It's a next play mentality.
“It's a learning process. It may look frustrating at times from an outside view, but those guys are buying into what we are asking them to do. It just takes time for them to get confidence in themselves and we are trying to nurture that the best we can. Towards the end we made some adjustments where we were maybe giving up a little more in the run but keeping the deep ball a little more in check.”