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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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

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

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

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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