Dabo Swinney Monday teleconference

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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said on Monday during a media teleconference that Saturday’s 31-17 loss to Georgia Tech was a case of the offense and defense not working together, something he believes can be correct during the team’s bye week this week.

The Tigers will practice Monday, visit a maximum security prison on Tuesday, practice Wednesday and Thursday and then have a three-day break from practice before returning to practice to prepare for Wake Forest next Monday.

The big topic of conversation, however, was the loss to the Yellow Jackets.

“There wasn't anything in the game that wasn't fixable,” he said. “We didn't get in a rhythm and it was the fewest snaps we've had all year. We kind of worked against each other all night. Defensively, we didn't get the stops we needed. And offensively we had turnovers. We didn't work together. We've worked together so well all year long and we didn't do that well Saturday. All the mistakes are very correctable. It was us not being dialed in and doing what we were supposed to do."

Swinney said he wanted the team to forget the loss as quickly as possible and concentrate on the Demon Deacons.

"You have to flush it today. They're coming in here at 3 p.m.,” Swinney said. “We'll talk about the mistakes and study the tape and then we'll go out to practice and move on. You want to win them all. I don't know how many people thought we'd be 9-0 right now. The reality is that we’re having a good year and we're 8-1. Every goal hanging on our wall is still in front of us. We're four quarters away from being the division champs and getting a sixth win in the conference with a chance to get a seventh. That hasn't been done here in a long, long time. We still have a lot left out there. You win a game, it's no different. You have to put it in the rear view mirror and move forward to the next game. That's our job as coaches to get them dialed back in."

Defensively, the Tigers gave up over 380 rushing yards to the Jackets, and a 16-play drive in the fourth quarter quelled any chances the Tigers might have had at a comeback. Swinney said the defensive issues came down to “four or five” players not doing their job.

“We had a few guys just not play very well,” he said. “I wish I could tell you why. We had 10 or 11 guys who played really well, and then there were four or five who just didn’t play very well and they didn’t do their job. We probably had the best week of practice we've had all year. When you play a team like that, everybody has to do their job. We just didn't do some things we needed to do. Again, give Georgia Tech the credit. They lined up and whipped us. They deserved to win and we didn't.

"This is obviously a difficult loss we're coming off of. I'm disappointed in how we played, but again I give Georgia Tech a lot of credit. But too many mistakes – there were a lot of critical errors and missed opportunities on our part. We just did not execute our plan to win, that's for sure. We've done that all year. You have to look at why we've been successful, and then all of a sudden we went the other way. It's not a surprise that we lost. We are a good team, but anybody can beat us and we're capable of beating anybody. We just had too many guys not play to our standard. We've got to learn from it and grow from it.”

He did say the team could take some positives out of the loss.

"There were some positives in the game,” he said. “We did win the second half, but we were too far down and the clock was against us. I like the way they competed and we did not give up. We went 97 yards for a touchdown and the turnover there on the goal line. There were certainly some positives. But we have to put this one behind us, grow from it and learn from it. We're having a good year. All of our goals are still there. We are four quarters away from another division title and a ninth win. Our open date is much-needed and is coming at a good time for us.”

Injury-wise, the Tigers look to be in good shape heading into the final quarter of the regular season.

“From an injury standpoint, it looks like next time we take the field we'll be as healthy as we've been since the start of the season according to what I am hearing from [trainer] Danny Poole. “We have to get recharged and ready for November. I look forward to us getting back in Death Valley in a couple of weeks."

Running back Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Jr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 190
Moncks Corner, SC

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has been battling injuries all season and missed the Georgia Tech game, but should be ready for the Demon Deacons.

“He'll be rocking and rolling by the time we play Wake,” he said. “We'll take good care of him this week. That's the blessing of having this open date. We've got a bunch of bangs and bruises and sore spots, just the toll of 13 weeks of hitting each other. They'll all be ready to roll."

Freshman running backs Mike BellamyMike Bellamy
Fr. Running Back
#5 5-10, 175
Nocatee, FL

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and D.J. HowardD.J. Howard
RS Fr. Running Back
#22 5-11, 195
Lincoln, AL

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replaced Ellington at Tech, and each had a critical fumble, and Swinney called them “costly.”

"They're going to be really good players. They're just young guys,” he said. “It was a tough night with both putting the ball on the ground. But both did some good things and have throughout the season. Two young players getting an opportunity to step up and the turnovers were costly. And both were fundamental. D.J. was switching the ball and we don't coach that. Mike got the ball away from his body. Those are fundamental things. They're too good as players to put the ball on the ground. We haven't done that all year, so to have two in a game was very costly. Like any other young player, they have a lot of ball left in them."

Swinney finished by saying he was glad to see fans still waiting for the team when the buses arrived back at the WestZone in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“We got back here at two or three a.m. in the morning, and we had 100 or so folks standing outside waiting on the team to get back,” he said. “That's All In right there. That's the kind of support that makes such a huge difference. Obviously we did not play well and everybody is disappointed with the way we lost, but to have people still out there waiting on us to get back to show support, that's pretty special. That meant a ton to me right there. It's easy to be fired up when everything is going well, but it's a whole different deal to be supportive when your team doesn't play well. Our fans have been great all year."

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