Swinney has message for critics of offense: "I can assure you, we don't stink"
|Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 12:17 PM- -|
CLEMSON – Head coach Dabo Swinney, the coaching staff, and the offense have taken criticism from all corners after a sluggish start to the season, and Swinney hears the complaints. He also wants everyone to know that the offense doesn’t stink.
Clemson’s offense is an uncharacteristic 105th nationally in scoring offense, even with a 49-point outing against SC State, averaging just 22 points per game. The rushing offense is 93rd, and the passing offense is 101st. Swinney believes those numbers will improve once the Tigers stop turning the ball over.
He also says the offense doesn’t stink.
“We played UGA. You won't see many people have explosives against Georgia,” Swinney said during his Tuesday press conference. “SC State played back and we ran the football. We played a team last week that dropped eight and said run the ball, so that's what we did. And it was completely opposite of what we saw on tape and what we prepared for.
"I can assure you; we don't stink. We're going to be alright. We've got to stop turning that ball over. I can tell you that."
Swinney said his players are giving good effort but have to be better fundamentally.
“We're getting good effort. If we weren't, that would be different. We have great kids who are working their tails off. We have some inexperience in some spots, and it's been a weird deal,” Swinney said. “Last week was a strange challenge. We got ambushed a little bit. If you have young players, you're not sure, what goes out the window is fundamentals. But effort is there. It's prepare with purpose and our guys do that. At some point we're going to take practice to game day. When you do that, you're doing a good job with details. You have to have commitment and we have that. We have great leadership on this team. We have effort but we want effort with technique, which leads to great execution. We have to get better there. There's no doubt."
The challenge this week is NC State. Clemson travels to Raleigh to take on the Wolfpack in a 3:30 pm kick (ESPN).
"This is a very good N.C. State team, a complete team, one of the most experienced teams in the country, for sure. They have nine of 11 back on offense and eight of 11 back on defense. They are well-coached, tough and play smart,” Swinney said. “Their defense looks like us on tape. They run to the ball, they're fundamentally sound and physical. Very experienced. They're well-coached. They have not allowed a rushing touchdown. Special teams, it's one of the best we will see all year. They have the school record holder in field goals and in punting. A very good team.
"I'm excited to see us play a true road game. It's a tough place to play. We have to play well and have a great week of preparation. We're looking forward to it.”
Swinney said that defensive tackle Tyler Davis had surgery Tuesday morning.
"Tyler Davis had surgery this morning. It's a big loss for us. He was playing great football for us. Just super proud of him,” he said. “I know he'll come back better than ever. Ruke Orhorhoro, we're fortunate we have him and other guys who have gotten some experience."
Swinney said that Davis played through the pain Saturday.
“I didn't know. I never saw it. He never missed a play,” he said. “It was incredible that he was able to play. He was sore the next day. In the moment he felt like he could play."
Another person who will fill in for Davis is freshman Tré Williams.
"He has been banged up since camp. He has played well. In the UGA game, he was very active. He had the most mistakes but it was his first time playing,” Swinney said. “He bounced back and looked better the last two weeks. He's a presence inside. He's athletic and tough. Ruke has played well and Etinosa Reuben has started to make some progress. He was out all last year and has missed a lot of time around here. He is starting to show some life a little bit. Darnell Jefferies is consistent for us. He understands our scheme. You have to be careful with some matchups but he's very functional. Payton Page is a young guy who is learning. He's a load in there. We have a good group. We're definitely going to miss TD."
On the transfer of running back Lyn-J Dixon, Swinney said the Tigers have options.
"Running back is one of the deepest positions on our team. We have two great backs, highly-recruited guys. It is an opportunity for Mikey (Dukes),” Swinney said. “He has to be more detailed but he's very talented. Rencher is a guy we trust. Every time he gets a chance, he is productive. Obviously we have Phil Mafah, too. That'll be a week-to-week type of deal. He's an incredibly talented player."
Swinney said that Dixon’s transfer was a surprise.
"It's his decision and he wanted to get a head start on the portal. I wish him well,” Swinney said. "Yes, it was a surprise. In 2021 I guess it shouldn't be. I'm sure we're not the only team who has had a player hit the transfer portal in the middle of the season."