Dabo Swinney Press Conference, Windows Media, (40:19)
Quotes from Swinney’s Weekly Press Conference
It was a good win last week. I thought our team responded well to an emotional win at Miami and went back to work. For the most part we played well, and it is always good to play a lot of guys. It has been good to have some film to get after some of those backups. I think from that standpoint it was a very productive week.
This week is a conference game so it is a big game for both teams. Our focus continues to be on just trying to get better as a football team and keep working toward our goals. I Look forward to seeing Coach Bowden. He is a legend. I grew up following great coaches like Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno. This opportunity is a thrill.
Offensively this team is extremely dangerous. Their whole team as of late has gotten it to together and is playing great football. They are scoring a lot of points and are the number-one offense in the league. They try to get the ball out quickly and into space and are a talented bunch.
They have a veteran offensive line and it is a talented bunch. They are very impressive when you watch them on film. Christian Ponder is what makes them go. This guy is as good as any we have played. It is just another big challenge for us defensively. He likes to run the football, and that is one thing that worries me. He runs with purpose. He is a tough guy, can make all the throws and doesn’t get sacked very often. We will have to do a great job affecting the quarterback. We have to get him out of his comfort zone.
For us it always starts with stopping the run. In this game, in particular, it will be critical for us to tackle in space. That is a big time factor in this ball game. We always are looking to create turnovers. We have done a good job in that area this year and that has to continue this week. We have to create turnovers and create momentum defensively.
We have to do a good job of managing the chunk plays (long plays, chunks of yardage). That is something we have to do a better job of. It goes back to tackling in space, playing technique and fundamentals, doing the right thing from an alignment standpoint, playing with your eyes and trying to contain those big plays. They are going to make some plays, but we have to make them go the distance. We can’t let them get big scores.
Their defense is very aggressive, athletic and talented. They have outstanding linebackers, and a bunch of veteran guys in the secondary. The defensive line has had some injuries and they have had to play some young guys up front that are very talented. They are getting those guys back together so we will have to execute. We can’t beat ourselves and I think Kyle Parker will need to have another big game, play well, make plays and continue his maturity. This is another great opportunity and hopefully be a big step for him.
Special teams will be critical. Coverage will be important and ball security on special teams will be important.
They are a good team, but it is more about us. We are good enough. We don’t make excuses. We just try to focus on getting better. Just having a great week of focus and preparation is what we are trying to do. The most excited team is not going to win. The most prepared team is going to win and the team that executes the best will win. I tell the guys not to get caught up in the hype of the ball game because we have a job to do.
We are a 5-3 football team that just needs to get better and we have an opportunity to do that. I also think it is important that the kids have some fun. This is a fun game to be a part of. I hope it is a sellout. I will be disappointed if there is an empty seat in Death Valley on Saturday. I hope it is that kind of atmosphere.
I am excited about Lucas Glover running down the hill with us. It is not often that someone from your school wins a major championship.
Update on Da’Quan Bowers:
He looked pretty good yesterday. He seems to be responding well and in great spirits. He wants to play, but I don’t see him playing this week. Beyond that I don’t know, if he keeps improving like he has then I think we will get him back quicker than later. Yesterday was a good day for him.
On guys that have opportunity to step up in Bower’s absence:
If you go back and look at our play counts these guys have played a lot. We roll those guys pretty freely up front. We have been a fortunate football team as far as injuries. Da’Quan is a great player but we do have depth there. Malliciah Goodman has played a lot of meaningful snaps. Kevin Alexander started a bunch of games. Alexander will continue to play what he has been. He and Malliciah will have to man it themselves.
Andre Branch has been playing behind Sapp and he has done a great job for us. He is capable of swinging either side. I think we will be fine. We have good players there. I hate that Bowers can’t play because you want all the good players you can at your disposal but I am very confident in those guys.
Q: Has Michael Palmer gotten back into contact?
Swinney: He will get some today. We were just in vests last night and today he will do some pad work. He will practice today. He has been cleared. You never know until you see how he responds. Scotty Cooper was cleared and he didn’t respond well so you never know. Terrence Ashe will be back. Kantrell Brown is doing much better. They are clearing him to practice this week. They will hold him another ball game because they want to evaluate him after a week of contact.
On Bobby Bowden:
I don’t know all the details about that. I can tell you that Coach Bowden ought to be able to coach as long as he wants to. Florida State wouldn’t be on the map if it weren’t for Bobby Bowden. He is as classy a man as you will ever meet. He started coaching in the 1950s and that is just mind boggling to me. He has been a good father and mentor to people. He is very sharp and witty.
Q: Will there ever be a Paterno or Bowden?
Swinney: Maybe. It will be a lot harder. People just aren’t patient anymore. There is so much more pressure and money. Expectations keep going up, and the time with players keeps getting less, so your opportunity to coach them goes down. With the ups and downs of college football it makes it hard. Now you have scholarship limitations and you will lose some recruits because of that. I think the schools that are patient in the long haul do the best.
WR Jacoby Ford, Windows Media
RB C.J. Spiller, Windows Media
LB Brandon Maye, Windows Media