Clemson vs. UNC: Dabo Swinney weekly press conference


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CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said during his Tuesday press conference that North Carolina will be as good as anybody the Tigers have played this season.

Clemson (7-0, 4-0 ACC, No. 8 AP) and North Carolina (5-2, 1-2) kick off at noon in Death Valley.

“We have another tough challenge this week with North Carolina,” Swinney said. “This is a good football team, and they are as good as anybody we've played up to this point. They are a gnat’s hair away from being 7-0. They are capable with a lot of talent. They have a bunch of NFL players on their roster. Bunch of guys that we have recruited on both sides of the ball. They are a really, really good team. They are playing hard. They don't give up. Coach [Everett] Withers has done a great job and they are very well coached and well -coordinated on both sides.”

Swinney on UNC

“When you look at their offense- they are an NFL style team and they are very balanced. Their style of play- they are a ball control type of team that wants to keep the ball from you if you can. That hurt us last year. They had the ball 13 minutes and 14 seconds in the fourth quarter last year. And that was a problem. You can't turn it over against them. And they create problems because they do some shifts - a lot of motions. You have get your gaps coordinated and get your guys in the right place. They'll bunch, which makes you zone some things which gets you out of rhythm. Their offensive line is huge. They are big and very athletic. They are a very good group that plays physical. Quarterback has been outstanding - leads the league in efficiency. No picks the last couple of games. Their running back is a freshman and he's very very good. Houston, his backup is a really good player. “

On the UNC defense

“Defensively, they are as good as we've played, their front four will all be playing on Sunday. A couple of their backups, too. Brown leads them in tackles at linebacker. 48 in the middle there is a really good player. They are starting a new guy in the middle this week and we know him very well because we recruited him. Just a good football team. They have dangerous returners. Another freshman for them, No. 5- he leads the league in kick returns. We have to do a great job with their coverage. But glad to be back home. Good to be back in Death Valley this week. One of the things I will say is that we need our crowd to be rocking. If there's a game we need our crowd to show up - it's this week. This is a difficult place to play when the crowd is rocking. It's like playing with 12 people. Want to challenge our fan base to get up, dress up and show up. Let's have that place as good as it's been all year long. “

On if RB Mike Bellamy is with the team

“Yes. He's absolutely with the team. He's here. If he wasn't here I promise you I'd let you know. He practiced well last night and expect him to practice well today. He's a young player and he's got some maturing to do. It's our job to teach him. Is there something going on I don’t know about?”

On if there is an issue with Bellamy

“I think there's a lot of structure here. A lot of discipline here. No grey area. Sometimes that's difficult for young people to take on when your maturity isn't where it needs to be. That's part of the process. He's a good young man. And that's what this program is about - coaching life. It's not just coaching ball. When it's all said and done, if he'll stick with it, he'll leave better than he is right now. He's not there yet. He's kind of your typical freshman. The transition not as easy as some for others. He's a young player that wants to play more. Nothing wrong with that. I want guys who want to play more, but you have to earn it. He's really not a problem. We had a little deal the last week where we sat him down the first half.”

On Bellamy using cell phone shortly after Maryland game

“He should be. He should be really happy. He's a very blessed young man. Must have been an important phone call. We handle things within this team concept here. It's dealt with. Everything is addressed. But he’s not disrespectful or anything like that. Let's be careful that. He's a profile guy that people are paying attention to.”

On issues against Maryland QB

“First of all, I give Maryland a lot credit. That guy can fly. I want to give Brown some credit. He did a fantastic job. He took advantage of us being undisciplined in our rush lanes. And to be honest with you, he just beat us a couple of times. He was better at times. And to be honest again, we hadn't seen a lot of him. They had a great game plan. We didn't do a good job spotting them 14 points right out of the gate.”

On Justin Parker

“He's hurt right now. I'm a little worried about him this week. Other than that he's doing fine. Still a young player and developing into a really good player. He's doing a great job on special teams and playing 20 to 25 snaps per game in that area. We haven't had a lot of true, regular personnel type games. But a very good player and we think he's got a good future. Right now banged up and hurt and probably questionable Hamstring. “

On Sammy Watkins’ hands

“He looks like Spiderman out there doesn't he? It's unbelievable. He's got great hands. And he attacks the football. That's one of the qualities that makes him special. He doesn't sit around and wait on it. Great body control. You put that type of mentality with body control and incredibly gifted hands and strong fingers. He's something else. He's special.”



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