Dabo Swinney's Weekly Press Conference


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CLEMSON -- Head football coach Dabo Swinney held his second weekly press conference of the 2009 football season on Tuesday.






Dabo Swinney Press Conference, Windows Media, (44:39)

Opening Statement:

Last Saturday night was a good win for us, especially if you look around the country and you see some difficulties in a lot of other programs in openers. There are always a lot of unknowns.

One of the things I was most proud of is we handled the unknown really well. We really didn’t know what Middle Tennessee was going to do defensively. If you had the opportunity to watch the film like we do, they were all over the place. We had a very simple plan with some gap schemes and we showed good recognition.

It was a very clean game. We didn’t have a lot of stupid penalties. So, it was a good opener, a good solid win. There was a lot of good teaching opportunities on film that we can learn from and improve on for our second game.

I am really proud of the staff and the job they did. They just did an awesome job in preparation. I can’t say enough about the job Coach Powell did with the special teams. He had them ready to go . They were special and that’s what they are supposed to be.


Hopefully they will be special every week.

Getting Ready for Georgia Tech: We have had a good few days of practice. I think the focus has been very good. I was proud of them yesterday, I thought it was going to be one of those days where you have to pull it out of them, but I was proud of them, they really pushed through.

I mentioned to the staff this morning that we haven’t had that many bad practices. That shows the kind of focus we have and leadership. This is one of those weeks where we have to show endurance, and I thought they showed endurance yesterday.

It, doesn’t get much better than this to have an opportunity to play and showcase your program on national television. It is exciting. This is what you play for and coach for.

Defensively it is all about discipline. We have to tackle and we have to gang tackle. That is what this game is about, every play you have to be aware of who has the dive, who has the pitch, who has the quarterback. You have to play unselfish and disciplined football to have a chance defensively against a team like this.

They will have 0 yards, 0 yards, 1 yard, 2 yards, 3 yards, -1 yard, and then 50 yards. We have to be very disciplined for 60 minutes. We can’t have lulls, everybody has to do their job.

How we handle their style of play from an offensive line standpoint will be something to watch as the game goes along. But you better know where number-nine (Nesbitt) is, you better know where 21 (Dwyer)is, you better know where 8 (Thomas) is. Those guys can win the game.

I really like Dwyer. He is a good player, a good back who is very well deserving of his recognition. The thing I like about him that makes you really respect him is his strength early and late. Last year he had seven games where he had 100 yards in the first half, so that means he shows up and goes to work. He is a workhorse and gets off to a fast start, but he also averaged 7.9 yards per carry in the fourth quarter all year. So not only is he a fast started he is a good finisher. He is just a very good football player that we have to minimize.

They had 38 touchdowns last year that were 20 yards and longer. They have big play capability within their system and they are very opportunistic when they take their shots and call those types of plays. That goes back to what I said, you have to be disciplined and do your job, because as soon as you don’t it is a 40-yard touchdown. Out of those 38 touchdowns eight of them were 50 yards or longer. They have that capability, they are a ball control, run the clock offense but they can strike quick too if you are not careful.

Georgia Tech has another very good defense. They have been very good on defense the last several years. I was excited to see they lost three NFL players up front until you watch them on film. They just keep good players there. Number 91 (Morgan) is a great football player. We won’t play a better player all year. I thought he was their best player last year, and they had three go to the NFL. He is pretty special.

They are very solid at linebacker because they have a bunch of guys back. They are very good at corner, they have an All-American safety in Burnett and Taylor has played a lot of football. They know what they are doing, but they are more of a conventional style defense.

We have to maximize our opportunities. We can’t do what we did Saturday and think you can beat this team. You have to convert on your opportunities. We have to catch the football. We had two drops that would have been touchdowns against Middle Tennessee. We had two more drops that would have been conversions keeping drives going. We have to take advantage of opportunities and we have to score. That is very important when you play this team is getting points on the board and hopefully pressing them a little bit and try to get them out of their personality.

Specific things you have found that need to improve on Finishing drives offensively is number one and we must take advantage of opportunities. You can’t win many games if you miss the many opportunities we had in the first half. We had four drops that would have been a first down or a touch down and then we had the two miscues by Willy. One where we are on the 20-yard line getting ready to score and we had Xavier Dye wide open, and it was just a fluke thing, the ball comes out of Willy’s (Korn) hand. Those are things you have to eliminate if you are going to be a good football team because those are things we control.

O-line Performance:

I thought we played pretty well up front. We played a lot of guys in the second half. We had a couple of miscues, but they were absolutely loading the box on us and we were being as stubborn as we could be. I think we had a couple of drives where we just ran right at them and they new we were running right at them. We were just trying to get better. We had control of the game and it was about trying to get better so we could get some things on film and coach them up a little bit. We had a whole drive with Rendrick and a whole drive with Jamie and we weren’t being fancy at all. We were just trying to make a point and see those guys on film and how they responded. The good thing is we were able to run the ball even though the numbers said don’t run it, and that was good. We had some backs run through some guys and make some guys miss.
The big thing was with the third and two down there on the goal line. That was disappointing. We lined up too deep first of all, and they got us off the edge. The second time was just had a technique problem. We had two guys on the goal line and they had a guy jump around and hit us in the backfield, we had our heads down, so just technique. The effort was very good, and there is improvement. We are not there yet, but it is the first game. We have something to build on.
Parker’s first road start: We have confidence in Kyle. In fact we tried to show some confidence the other night when we won the toss and took the ball. Every drive we had if we just finished a play we would have either scored or kicked for a score and probably only had one punt in the game. As far as Kyle, we are just going to run our offense that is what we practice for everyday. We have crowd noise to practice with to help prepare from a procedure standpoint.

Close games with Georgia Tech:

That is just a good rivalry. We are just a hop-skip-and-jump away from each other. A lot of these kids have been in tight games with them. That is pretty interesting, 10 out of last 13 games have been by five points or less. It is just a good college matchup. One of those good rivalries like Alabama Tennessee are usually pretty good games. I don’t know why, but it is a good game every year. We are a good program and they are a good program.

Q: What do you remember about CJ’s touchdown from 2006 against GT?

Swinney: That was a great play. We just had a simple curl play called. I still don’t know why we threw to him because it was cover two and they had a corner that had him and it should have been a tackle for no gain or a two-yard gain. He just does what he does. He beat the corner and then made another guy miss and then just ran away from everybody. He is an explosive player. I was happy to see him start the season the way he did Saturday. It is hard to start off your senior year any better with your very first touch of the season going 96 yards.

Q: Is Parker more patient because of his baseball experience?
Swinney: I just am a big believer that when you are a competitor every time you compete it helps you. I played three sports my whole life until I went to college, and I know that all my experiences playing basketball and baseball made me a better football player. Kyle is unique in that he has had the opportunity to compete at a high level in another sport. Certainly I think there is carryover, but it is just who he is that is his DNA. Those are lessons that can certainly transfer over.

RB C.J. Spiller, Windows Media, (12:07)


WR Jacoby Ford, Windows Media, (5:00)

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