Dabo Swinney ACC teleconference transcript
COACH SWINNEY: Thank you. It's good to be back with y'all this week, especially coming off of a win. But we’ve got another tough opponent coming up this week. We’ve got a 5-2 Georgia Tech team that's won three in a row. We I think played our first complete game this past week, as far as all three phases making significant contributions. That's what it's going to take again this week to be able to beat Georgia Tech.
They're obviously a well-coached team on both sides of the ball. Really they are just getting better. That's the biggest thing that jumps out at me when you watch them. They're just getting better and better each week. It's going to take a great effort from us.
Q. Do you feel like your passing game is where it needs to be at this point in the season?
COACH SWINNEY: No (laughter), not even close. We’ve got to catch the football. Kyle Parker is playing well. He was player of the game for us up there at North Carolina. I thought he played his best game of the year. Unfortunately, we had five dropped passes, then we come back against Maryland this weekend and Kyle played extremely well, except we had six dropped passes, two of them for touchdowns. They were all by our runningbacks and tight ends. We didn't have any receivers drop a pass, so that was good.
We got to catch the ball better. I definitely think that it's going to turn around and we'll get better. But, no, we're nowhere near where we need to be in our passing game.
Q. Reading today you and Billy want to open it up, start throwing the ball some more. Why are you going to do that when you're having trouble?
COACH SWINNEY: Well, we have to be able to throw and catch the ball. We hadn't really thrown the ball a lot. But people start loading up on you and over committing. We got good players. We just got to get it to the right guys. That's what we've got to do a better job of. When we talk about opening it up, it's making sure certain guys are getting their opportunity to impact the game.
Q. With the recent results against Georgia Tech and the way some of those games were lost, is it possible for the guys to come out too fired up for this game and how do you try to keep them focused and to the point?
COACH SWINNEY: No, we just concentrate on our method of preparation. All that stuff is great, but when the game kicks off, all that stuff goes out the window. You got to line up and execute. That's really the only thing we talk about focusing on, is getting yourself ready to play every play like it's the critical play in the ballgame, creating that mentality.
For us right now, hey, it's a one-game season every week. This week it's Georgia Tech. Obviously they're a team that we're pretty familiar with and they're very familiar with us because we have played them twice last year and both of them were down-to-the-wire type of games.
Certainly our guys are excited to play, like they are every week. It's more about just focusing on the execution as opposed to who you're playing.
Q. Coach, you've got a lot of athletic players on defense who are independent play-makers, if you will. How tough is it to get them in a disciplined frame of mind to play the kind of offense that Georgia Tech comes to town and do it in seven days?
COACH SWINNEY: Well, it's difficult. That's one of the real positives they have with what they do offensively. Not a lot of people do that. So you basically have to take everything you've done all spring, all summer, all camp, and in the first six ballgames, just put it over there in the shed, and basically say, “Hey, we'll see you next week.” You've got to just completely do things that you haven't done all year schematically because you have to defend what they do from a game-plan standpoint.
Option football is a unique bird. You hit it, though. The number one thing is discipline. Everybody has got a job to do and everybody has to perform their job. You have to win the physical matchups, get off of blocks, be great with your eyes. You can't have two guys doing the same thing. You also can't do it the same every time. You've got to change it up. If you just constantly are doing the same thing, they'll have some answers to hurt you.
It's tough, though. Doesn't really matter who you have on defense, you’ve got to line up and be very disciplined against these guys for four quarters. Play in, play out, you've got to persevere.
Q. Don't you think it's a little tougher when you have the kind of athletes you have got? Your guys are play-makers. In this sort of situation, if you go to make a play, you may leave a gap, and that might be, See you later?
COACH SWINNEY: But that's really true in our normal scheme. That's one of the things we harp on all the time. That's what's cost us, to be honest with you, is some guys not doing their job, being undisciplined. We've given up some big plays this year we shouldn't have given up; 10 guys doing their job, one not. To me it doesn't matter who you play, what the style is, you have to be disciplined on defense. That's what we try to do.
Q. How much will it help that passing game to get Hopkins back?
COACH SWINNEY: It's certainly not going to hurt it. He's a very good player. He's got great hands. Usually a young guy that has a lot to learn, but he's wise beyond his years as far as his mentality, his approach that he has. He's got a rare toughness. He's got just a great ability to catch the football consistently. So it will be a big shot in the arm for us to get him back.