Dabo Swinney ACC teleconference transcript


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Dabo Swinney ACC teleconference transcript

DABO SWINNEY: I hope everybody is

doing well today. Good to be with you. We're

probably like most everybody else out there, just

excited that it's finally game week and anxious to

see our team play somebody else and get a real

gauge of where we are. Troy is a tough opener for

us, and it's a program that I've got a lot of respect

for and know a lot about, and it certainly will be a

big challenge for us. But we are excited about

cranking this thing up this week and having a good

season.

Q. It seemed like Boyd's numbers in

the scrimmages this summer were better and

more consistent than they were this spring.

What was the difference for him?

DABO SWINNEY: (Laughing) Well, first of

all, we had about 30-something guys that were

with our football team that weren't there in the

spring due to injuries, and we brought in 27 new

players. So that's probably the biggest thing. And

this spring was the first time we had had

installation as far as with this system. After 15

days of spring ball, Tajh is one of those guys that

really worked very hard this summer in taking

ownership of this offense, and he came back even

much better. And I thought he had a really good

spring, but he came back, as we challenged him

to, better than he was when spring ended. Proud

of him for that. And then we've got some really

good players in here, young players that I think are

going to make a difference for us. I think all those

things have helped him with his performance.

Q. What do you want to see most from

the offense in this opener? I guess just what

are some concerns and what are you excited

about to see from this new offense?

DABO SWINNEY: Well, I want to just see

us play smart and execute. I mean, that's really

what it's about. We've got good players, we've got

good coaches. It's about execution, and I want to

see us go out and play the game the way we've

practiced. We've had good focus, we've had

excellent preparation. These guys have been very

dialed in on trying to get better every day, and you

know, we've set a standard, and I want to see us

play to that standard. So that's really the biggest

thing.

Just avoid some of those first game things

that sometimes you see a lot when you turn the TV

on; take care of the football, no stupid penalties, be

clean with our procedures and so forth.

Q. I was wondering from the beginning

of fall camp up until the eve of your first game

if there's anybody who has really progressed

beyond what you expected of him, somebody

who's just really not necessarily come out of

nowhere but has just jumped up and become

maybe a lot more than you were looking for?

DABO SWINNEY: Well, I mean, I think

we've got several guys that are worthy of

mentioning, but if I had to say one guy, it would be

Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
Fr. Wide Receiver
#7 6-2, 200
Fort Myers, FL

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, and that's just because he's a

true freshman that's been here for a few weeks. I

knew he was going to be a really good player, but I

just have been blown away by his ability to not just

learn the offense but his work ethic, his attention to

detail. He's way beyond his years, very polished

guy, studies, takes great notes. I mean, just about

his business all the time, and that's a very

uncommon thing for a true freshman. He'd be the

guy that has surprised me, again, not that he's a

good player, but just the whole package that he's

got.

Q. Has he found his way into the

starting lineup already?

DABO SWINNEY: Oh, yeah, that took him

about three days.

Q. Yesterday when we got to talk to

Andre he talked about last season, how he's

envisioned maybe his first touch this year. Do

you kind of daydream about that first play of

Saturday?

DABO SWINNEY: Well, I just want it to be

a positive play. I know what we're opening up with,

as we kind of have our plan set and ready to go.

But just, again, to go back to what I said earlier, I

just want to see us execute and take care of the

football. Every play is designed to score, but

hopefully we'll have the same result that Andre had

last year, and he'll be able to take it to the house

again. Again, the main thing is just to have a good

positive play and stay on schedule.

Q. There's been a lot of talk about Tajh

in the preseason, who's going to replace

Da'Quan and some of those freshman

linebackers, but you've got a lot of new faces in

the secondary. How does that alleviate some

of your concerns during fall camp, especially

how you think they might perform in the early

going?

DABO SWINNEY: Well, I think that's

definitely an area where there's a lot of questions

on our team, and not just in the secondary but our

backups in general. I think that Rashard HallRashard Hall
RS Jr. Safety
#31 6-2, 200
St. Augustine, FL

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and

Jonathan MeeksJonathan Meeks
Jr. Safety
#5 6-1, 205
Rock Hill, SC

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are two guys that are really good

football players, have played a lot of football.

Same thing with Xavier BrewerXavier Brewer
RS Jr. Defensive Back
#29 5-11, 190
Jacksonville, FL

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, Coty SensabaughCoty Sensabaugh
RS Sr. Defensive Back
#15 6-0, 180
Kingsport, TN

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,

those guys have played a lot, Bashaud BreelandBashaud Breeland
RS Fr. Safety
#17 6-0, 190
Allendale, SC

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is

a freshman that's going to be making his debut this

week. But behind those guys, we're a talented

group, but a lot of inexperience.

That's going to be a real story to watch for

us is how those guys perform on game day and

how they get better. That's going to be the

challenge for us as a staff, to do a good job in

bringing those guys along, because by mid-season

we've got to have some dependable depth. Right

now we've just got depth. I wouldn't say it's really

dependable yet. That's yet to be proven. So

they're going to get their opportunity here pretty

quickly. But we're young, and again, talented

guys, but we've got to go play on game day so we

can have some video evidence and kind of see

where we are versus an opponent and go from

there.

Q. Are you in a position where you can

maybe script some of these guys that are going

to get a certain number of snaps on Saturday,

or is that sort of a dangerous approach?

DABO SWINNEY: No, you don't want to.

The big thing is, and the difference from your fall

camp, is you do a lot of wholesale substitutions in

fall camp. You've got your first group, your second

group, and you're working on certain reps and

things like that. But in a game it's not necessarily

like that. You have to be smart with how you

substitute, and hopefully some of those guys will

play -- when they're playing with some of the

starters, those guys will help them.

But as far as going into it with a set

number of plays, don't really have that. But we

know the type of system Troy runs; we're going to

have to definitely substitute, and we want to do

that. We've got to be able to keep some guys

fresh, and the only way guys are going to get

better is to play them. But we want to play them on

our terms. So hopefully we can stay healthy, at

least the first half of this season here while some of

these guys develop through some experience.

Q. Is Jonathan Massaquoi somebody

that concerns you this week, and is it

somebody that you've been preparing for

specifically?

DABO SWINNEY: Yeah, he concerns me.

He had 13 and a half sacks last year. He's to be a

concern to anybody they play this year. He's

probably as good a guy as we'll see all year.

Outstanding prospect. He'll be an NFL guy, and

they've had some good ones come out of Troy in

DeMarcus Ware, and the guy from the Giants, Osi

Umenyiora. They have had some pretty good

D-linemen up there. He's definitely right in line

with those guys, and he's a guy that we are very

well aware of, and we'll have to have a plan for him

if he's having a lot of success with his pass rush.

Q. I wanted to ask you, last year the

ACC had astonishing field goal accuracy as a

league all around the league. Your guy

Chandler started off a little rough but he

finished pretty strong. Can you talk about your

confidence in his ability, the way he finished

and the way he's looked in the off-season?

DABO SWINNEY: Yeah, we were at the

bottom of that astounding list that you're talking

about there. But we did finish strong, and that's

something -- because of the way the season went

and the type of year it was, in particular kicking the

ball, nobody really talked about that. But I'm proud

of Chandler for how he finished the season hitting

six out of seven.

And we made a change with our snapper,

Phillip FajgenbaumPhillip Fajgenbaum
RS So. Offensive Line
#52 6-0, 225
Raleigh, NC

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, who's now our starter, he took

over in the Florida State game and did a great job

for us. We just feel like we've got some

consistency there now with our snap hold.

And the kick, Chandler has had an

excellent spring. He carried it right over into fall

camp. He's been very consistent. The only thing

for him is just to go have that consistency on game

day, and that's the next step for him. He struggled

as a freshman last year, but I really think that that

experience is going to help him, and again, he

finished strong, and I like how he's carried it over

right into spring and fall camp, and I expect him to

play well. But it's definitely something that a lot of

eyes are going to be on for sure.

Q. I was going to ask you if something

seems to have changed in football just over the

last 20 years. It used to be if you got 60

percent accuracy you were pretty happy. Now

it's like guys, 80 percent is average in the ACC

last year.

DABO SWINNEY: Yeah. Actually that's a

good point. I think we had a kicker here way

before I got here named Chris Gardocki, who was

one of the best ever, and I think he punted and

kicked forever in the NFL. But I believe that

Chandler, even though he had a poor year, his

percentage I think was higher as a freshman than

Gardocki had as a freshman. But it's just different

times.

And for us in particular last year the way

the season was, we missed six kicks inside the 20.

We had a lot of games that were three points, four

points. We lost five games by six points or less,

and those were games where we missed kicks.

It's a definite factor in the game, and it was very

glaring in that regard for us as a team last year.

But hopefully we'll be much improved, and

I really believe we're going to be. But again, we've

got to go play and have the same kind of

performance on the field -- on the game day that

we've had on the practice field.

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