Dabo Swinney ACC teleconference transcript

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Audio of Dabo Swinney's teleconference (MP3 Format)

COACH SWINNEY: Good to be with you
guys again this week. For us, we're getting ready
to play another really good football team and a Top
10 team. This time we've got to go on the road.
This is going to be a game we're going to have to
really play very well to have a chance to win.

Virginia Tech is, in my opinion, the best
team in this league and they've earned that and
they've got the best coach in this league, and he's
earned that. It's a great environment they have,
and we're going to have to do a great job in
managing that environment, taking care of the
football, and playing with a lot of discipline and

But looking forward to going on the road
and seeing how we perform and finding out a little
bit more about our football team.

Q. As much as you pointed out the
hard part is only starting for you guys. I'm just
wondering, I know the schedule is laid out in
advance and it's really something the coaches
have no control over. But your coastal division
opponents are Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech,
and North Carolina, and FSU's are Miami,
Virginia, and Duke. Even though you've beaten
them, it looks like they've got a pretty good
inside track as far as scheduling goes to get
back in this thing.

COACH SWINNEY: Well, as you said, we
don't have any control over scheduling, and that's
hit or miss every year as far as where teams are
and how they're doing and all that kind of stuff. But
we just go and play the ones that we've got and
take them one at a time. At the end of the year,
somebody's going to be in Charlotte.

Right now we're in the driver's seat, and
we've just got to continue to stay focused on our
business. Hopefully, when it's all said and done,
we'll be the ones representing this division.

But it's way to early to be worried about
that. We've got a lot of work to do the rest of the

Q. How much progress did you see
specifically from the defense in that Florida
State game?

COACH SWINNEY: I thought we made a
lot of progress. We didn't have any critical errors,
missed assignments in that game. We did a much
better job with being in our gaps. But the biggest
improvement is we tackled better. We were really
poor the first few games, so it was good to see us
tackle better.

We had a couple of really key stops with
some one on one tackles. That was good to see.
We did a better job in coverage. We had a couple
of busts, but we turned a couple of guys loose. We
still gave up three or four big plays, which is the
biggest area of concern. Where their guy made a
play on our guy, and we've got to win more of
those match-ups.

But I thought we had really good
improvement. We're not even close to what we
want to be defensively but we are making
progress, and it's still early in the season, and they
found a way to make some key plays and we've
got to continue to do that.

Q. I'm curious. It's a bit of a juggernaut
so far this season, and I wonder if it reflects
any change in your philosophies. I know
you've had some changes in your overall
approach to it. But what are your thoughts
about the responsibility for calling plays? Do
you leave it entirely to your offensive
coordinator? If you could share your
philosophy on that, I'd appreciate it.

COACH SWINNEY: Well, it's really not
any different than it's been since I've been the
head coach. You know, I trust both my
coordinators. They do a great job. My background
is as an offensive guy. From an X and O
standpoint, I'm always a little more involved
offensively just because of my background. I
would say most head coaches are that way,
whichever side of the ball they kind of came up in.

Chad calls the plays, and we talked
through things all the time, between series,
halftime, sometimes during a series. But he has
done a tremendous job in running our offense. But
all of the coaches, everybody has input, and we try
to have as many eyes on the right things as
possible to gather as much information as we can
so that we can do a good job of calling plays.

The big part in our offense is we have to
have good play calls, but the tempo we want to
play at, the execution of the play, the decision
making. Because sometimes we've got two or
three things going on in a play, so we don't really
know what's going to happen. A lot of it is
decisions by the quarterback. That's been one of
the bright spots on our team.

Tajh has done a great job in making good
decisions from an execution standpoint of the play
that's been called.

Q. Quick follow-up if I may. Your
background when you were an assistant, you
say you lean offensively. Is it hard for you -- I
know it can get confusing on the head sets as
well. Is it hard to have to bite your tongue
when things get really excited? You said
sometimes you do talk about play calling
during a series.

COACH SWINNEY: Oh, no, no, no.
We've got a -- I've been doing this a long time.
First of all, we've got great chemistry on our staff. I
go back and forth. I'm with the offense during
offense, but I'm over on the defensive side during
defense, and trying to keep up.

There's always a flow that you want your
play caller to have you don't ever want to interrupt
that. Sometimes as a head coach, there is input
that he needs as far as strategy, what we want to
do, those type of things. That's about it, but, no,
it's not any chaos or anything like that.

Q. Update on where you are with Nuke
and maybe Howard and Dawson?

COACH SWINNEY: Again, as I said
yesterday, I think all of them are probable at this
point. Dawson has been doing some light punting.
I think we'll increase that a little bit today. I think
we did some light, not full speed running with Nuke
yesterday. We'll push him a little more today.

But D.J. looks pretty good. He's going to
be put back into practice today, which is good, as
far as doing everything. We'll still limit Nuke and
Dawson today, but, again, my anticipation is by
6:00 Saturday night they're going to be feeling like
they're ready to go.

It's getting better each day. It's just one of
those things that takes time.

Q. We know how great Tajh Boyd is
doing in your offense now, but what was he like
in the spring?

COACH SWINNEY: He was outstanding
in the spring. He didn't have a great spring game,
and a lot of people tried to make a big deal out of
that. But he had 14 really good practices in spring
game. Got a diluted team and a diluted offensive
line. We have 30-something guys that are on the
team now that weren't here in the spring, signees
and all that stuff.

From a knowledge standpoint, I was very
pleased with how he picked things up. Tajh really
grew as a football player last year. He really did as
far as his knowledge of the game, preparation,
those type of things.

He started last January in really preparing
himself to be not just the starting quarterback, but
to be a great leader on the team. He set a great
example with his daily work ethic and his
commitment. Then with Chad coming in here and
starting from scratch, I think it was great because
we were able to build it from the ground up. So he
got better all through spring. But it's what he did
after the spring.

He went back through all of those
practices and all of the installation and over and
over and over this summer. He's always throwing
a ball, he's always watching tape.

The challenge for him to come back, a
much better player at the beginning of camp than
he was at the end of spring, and he did that.
That's why you're seeing him have the success
that he's having right now.

Q. In the spring he didn't have the
same knowledge and grasp of the offense that
he has now?

COACH SWINNEY: Well, nobody did. He
was just putting it in. It was brand-new. So
everybody had to start from scratch with what we
were trying to do he had a really good spring. It
just when we went back through camp and you've
got two and a half, three weeks of camp, where
you're practicing every day and sometimes twice a
day, he came in prepared because he had been
exposed to it in the spring.

He really prepared and studied this
summer and got himself in great shape. I'm really
not surprised at all that he's playing well. That is
really what we expected.

Q. I'd like your comments on Virginia
Tech's defense Bud Foster. Looks like he has
the defense highly ranked again, and also
specifically your thoughts of their defensive
back, Jayron Hosley?

COACH SWINNEY: Well, they're very
well-coached. Bud Foster is one of the best in this
business and has been for a long time. They do
what they do, and they're really good at it. They
recruit to their system, and they know exactly what
they want and how they want to do it.

They play extremely hard. They're very
physical. They're built to stop the run, and they do
a good job of that. They've only given up 43 yards
rushing right now, which is second in the country.
Statistically they're about Top 10 in everything in
the nation. So giving up ten points a game. So
we've got some serious conflict going on here with
their defense and what we want to do offensively.
It's a big, big challenge for us.

But No. 20 for them, if he's not the best
corner, he's certainly one of the best corners in this
league. Very dynamic guy. He's not a huge guy,
but he can hit you, and he's got great coverage
skills. He really executes their system very well.
He's also a good returner for them. So a really,
really good football player.

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