Dabo Swinney's Weekly Press Conference Highlights
Dabo Swinney Press Conference, Windows Media, (44:00)
Opening Statement: I am proud of our team. This is a group of guys that have bought into the team concept all year long. When you look at this season, there have been times when the offense has struggled and special teams picked it up and vice versa.
Outside of the penalties Saturday, that was our most complete game. I gave the offensive staff the game ball for that game. They have done a tremendous job and no turnovers on the road or critical penalties. I am just really proud of them.
The players of the game were Brandon Maye on defense and Kyle Parker on offense, probably his best performance. Kevin Alexander was the winner on special teams. He is having as good a year as anybody on this team this year. We are getting more out of him than probably any other player.
CJ Spiller was ACC Player of the week for the fourth time. He is an amazing player. I don’t know what else we can do to recognize what he has done.
We are really excited about the opportunity this week to play Virginia. They are a big, physical team, in fact, they look like an NFL team. It is a great opportunity for us to be at home and win our division.
We elected our permanent captains for the season. There were a lot of guys who got votes to be captains, and that is a good sign. I expected that. The captains are Thomas Austin, Michael Palmer, CJ Spiller, Ricky Sapp, Chris Chancellor and Kavell Conner. Those guys will take us the rest of the way.
Virginia is a very capable team. They beat Maryland and North Carolina. If you watched the North Carolina game that is what they did, they pounded them. They play two quarterbacks and we are preparing for that. We are going to have to tackle well and stop the run first.
Their defense is very well coached. They have one of the better defenses we have played. They are unique in that they are the only team in the league that plays their scheme (3-4). I think the real key for us offensively is to run the ball well. If we let them play a two-shell the whole game then that’s an advantage for them. They are just big over there. They don’t give up a lot of big plays. If we can run them out of that then we can have some opportunities. Then we have to take care of the football.
Their special teams have done it all. They have faked extra points, field goals, faked punts, run reverses on punt returns, thrown throwback on kickoff returns. You name it and they have done it so, Coach Powell won’t sleep this week. I don’t know if they will kick it to us. We have seen everything on film.
On possibly knowing fate before the game:
That doesn’t matter. If that happens then that is great, but there will not be celebrating until we have taken care of our business on the field. This is senior day and these kids have responded every singe week to every situation and we won’t spend 30 seconds talking about Boston College. We are worried about Virginia. No one wants to lose at home, especially your last home game in Death Valley.
On Senior Day and the senior class being able to clinch division title:
I think that would be really special for those guys. I still remember my high school senior game. They work so hard and these guys put so much into it for those 12 Saturdays. It is just a special day and then that it is your last game and an opportunity to win the Division title on the same day. These guys were four years old the last time we won one. It is a great opportunity for them. That is why you play the game. All year long they have been working towards their goals and now the second goal is right there in reach. I think it would be really special.
On senior class coming brining it all back together six weeks ago:
This class didn’t come together six weeks ago, they did in January. They are not any different than they were since day one. They have been solid as a rock since day one. That is why I knew in the Georgia Tech game that this team had a chance to be special. I could see it in how they responded and handled the loss in the locker room. This team came together way back. These seniors have done an outstanding job of leadership.
On Play of o-line:
They have become dominate. They have continued to get better and have made very few mistakes up front. They are just getting better. We have one senior this year and one next year. It is a very young offensive line. I am really proud of Landon Walker and David Smith and that chemistry. Antoine McClain is a man. The sky is the limit for him.
“Dalton Freeman, you can’t say enough about him as a freshman. He is a smart, tough, athletic kid. Thomas Austin is the best lineman we have had here in a while as far as the total package. He is the leader of our team. Cloy, has really grown this year as a player. We didn’t miss a beat when Thomas Austin was out. Hairston has been great. He is as smart a guy as we have on this team. Our success starts with the offensive line. That is where it starts. If we are productive up front we will have a chance to win.
On Ricky Sapp:
I am proud of him because he is a humble player. He is hungry and had a great offseason. He is having fun playing football. This is a great scheme for him and he is playing hard. He was giving great effort the other night and he is so much fun to coach. As a freshman he was rough around the edges high maintenance, but now he was voted captain. He is as low maintenance a football player as you will ever be around. He has been ‘All In’ from day one. He has a great future in front of him.
On Thomas Austin as the leader:
He has been such a great leader and it is really nice that it is a left guard. I am proud of him. He is married, very mature, son of a military guy. He just has all the right stuff. We are going to miss him. Those are the kind of people you want in your program.
On Emotion of Senior Day:
We will honor our seniors. It is already emotional for me. This is why you coach. It is all about relationships. It never gets old. Every year it is tough when you have to say goodbye to your seniors. The group last year was special to deal with what they did to go win four out of five games and then pass the torch on to this next group. We are going to miss them.
On Jacoby Ford’s impact:
I am going to miss him. He is a special young man, great family. He is as pleasant a guy as you could be around. He responds the right way, loves to play, loves to work, never been a problem and loves Clemson. To see where he has come from to become a dominant kind of guy, I am just so proud of him. He has a great future in football and he is as tough a kid as they come. He doesn’t mind playing without the ball. He has done a great job with this football team.
On favorite CJ moment:
When he said he was staying at Clemson. Standing in the back of that press conference and not knowing what he was going to say and watching him speak from the heart. That was a special moment. I would rank that along with when he announced he was coming to Clemson. We have had a lot of special moments together and really proud of the man he is. He is a man. Just a great role model and understands the platform that he has and really wants to use it the right way. He is very deserving of everything.
On Placekicker for Saturday:
I don’t know, they are going to compete all week. Both were perfect yesterday. I am concerned but hopefully we can get them back mentally focused and back on their routine. We know they both can kick. We just have to get back in the groove. Hopefully we can continue to do well on offense and not have it come down to a kick and let them get some confidence back. I don’t know who is going to start. Off to a good start this week. They both hit the ball yesterday as they have all year.
C.J. Spiller, Windows Media
Jacoby Ford, Windows Media
Brandon Maye, Windows Media