Sunday Update: Swinney talks Freezer Package, firing of Chad Morris


by - Senior Writer -
Dabo Swinney says Chad Morris didn't have enough time at Arkansas
Dabo Swinney says Chad Morris didn't have enough time at Arkansas

The Freezer Package.

Senior left guard John Simpson scored his first career touchdown Saturday night at NC State, lining up in the backfield and plunging into the endzone from a yard out for a first-half score. Simpson followed defensive tackles Nyles Pinckney and Tyler Davis and defensive end Logan Rudolph in for the score, and head coach Dabo Swinney told the media Sunday evening that the package as a name.

The Freezer Package.

"We work on it every year. We've had it several years here now,” Swinney said on his Sunday teleconference. “Those defensive guys, big, strong, athletic guys ... sheer mass and athleticism. We want to take advantage of that in certain situations. This year we were transitioning a little bit but we have been working on it as far as who we wanted in our heavy package. Xavier Thomas is our big back and is unbelievably fast but he got hurt. We haven't had to use it much. It's not just goal line. We can do it in short-yardage as well. It's a nice, little package we have developed over the years.

"We didn't really block it right last night, but John Simpson is 330 pounds. It's a way for us to get a couple of dirty yards. That's the idea behind it. We've been repping John there for the last three weeks in what we call our freezer package. We just had to have the right opportunity. It just worked out last night. Our guys do get excited and take a lot of pride in it. To see John score was awesome. Now all the linemen are lobbying for their chance. Eric Mac Lain is mad. He's texting me because he didn't get to run one when he was here."

Former Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is no stranger to trick plays or exotic formations, but he was fired from Arkansas Sunday after a rough start.

"I have not talked to him yet but have texted with him. I'll try to call him later on tonight. It's a tough business, man. I hate it,” Swinney said. “I hate it for him and for all those guys on that staff. A lot of people are going to get fired if you don't get but a year and a half to build a program. I think he is a great coach, a winner. If he had the support and did not have to come to work every day worrying about his job a year and a half into his job, you'd look up five or six years from now and be proud of what you have.”

Swinney said big money leads to big expectations, but he thinks Arkansas would have been wise to leave Morris alone.

“I understand. The type of money that's being paid and expectations. Everyone wants to win yesterday,” Swinney said. “It's just not that easy especially when you take over a challenging situation. You lose that recruiting class, the first one when you take it over. I hate it. He'll move forward. He's a great coach. I have no doubt he'll keep moving forward and he'll learn and grow from this.

"I wish they had left him alone and supported him. Every week it was hot seat stuff. I think he would have built a really good program there. Even though the wins aren't there, I think he has upgraded their recruiting. It's hard to do something in this business in a year or year and a half timeframe. That's just where we are in this business. It's hard to take over a program that has not won and turn it around in a year and a half especially in a tough league. People who make those decisions, they make them for whatever reasons. A lot of staff, families involved. You hate that it didn't work out."

On the win over NC State

"Last night, super proud of our team, the mindset of our team. We're playing at a high level right now and we're doing what we need to do to earn a championship opportunity. It was exciting. Guys just really played well. I'm super proud of our staff and all the work that has been put in. It was our ninth 10-win season here since we took over. Just appreciative of our seniors and leadership. It was another goal accomplished. We have been working all year to this point.

“Offensively, we played outstanding. We had five touchdown drives of at least 75 yards. Our communication was really good up front. We had no turnovers and that's three games in a row. We had a lot of great individual plays. Our quarterback continues to play at a high level as well as our offensive line. We did have too many penalties and a couple offsides in the second half and some drops. Really played well all-in-all. We had a school record 55 points three games in a row and that has never happened. What we have been able to do running and passing ... it hasn't happened since I've been a head coach.

"Defensively, the biggest thing is we held them under 300 yards, a record and that ties the 2011 Alabama team. That's all year we've held our opponents to under 300 yards. We've had 13 games of holding teams to under 20 points. That record goes back to the 1950's under Frank Howard. We did a good job in the red zone last night. A lot of guys played well. We did give up three big runs and that was the biggest negative. There are some technical things that we need to clean up. We had a couple of bad penalties, too.

"I love where our team is right now. This week is another opportunity for us to honor our seniors. It's always a big week with a lot of emotion. It's exciting to take some time to honor these guys in front of the home crowd one last time. It's a very tough Wake Forest team coming in, a very dangerous team.

"Injury-wise, we're in good shape. Knock on wood there."

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