Dabo Swinney's weekly press conference

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Dabo Swinney Press Conference Audio

Opening Statement

“NC State is a hot team. They’re playing very well on both sides of the ball and we’re going to have to do a super job defending their offense. They’re throwing the ball almost 300 yards a game, that’s been their mode of operation. They’re leading the league in first downs.

“It all starts with the quarterback. Russell Wilson is playing at a really high level this year and getting the ball to a lot of people. He is the key. They have four really good wide outs. They spread you out and try to create some match-up problems. Mustafa Greene is a true freshman running back that has some great vision. He showed up big time in that Florida State game.

“Defensively, they’re playing very well. They’re playing really hard and playing confident. They have 24 sacks. They do a good job of getting to the quarterback. Nate Irving is kind of like Russell Wilson. He’s playing at a high, high level with a lot of intensity. The secondary is young. They have three sophomores and a freshman, but they’re playing very well. It’s military appreciation day this week. That’s a special time at Clemson with our history.”

On Kyle Parker/Tajh Boyd

“Kyle did not play well at Boston College. But, as I said earlier, Kyle Parker is not the reason we’ve lost four games. He’s not the reason we lost at Auburn. He didn’t play well in the first half of the Miami game, but played great in the second half. At North Carolina, he was the offensive player of the game. Georgia Tech was his best game of the year. He’s had one bad game.

“People are so quick to get amnesia. Kyle Parker is a very good player. He’s got to perform better for us to win, but this guy has laid it on the line for Clemson.

“Our season has been disappointing, especially the way we’ve lost. Our guys continue to battle, and they continue to strive to win.

“I do think we need to try to play Tajh Boyd. I think you can expect to see him playing in the remainder of the season. At this point I had hoped that things had been differently, but we’ve been living and dying on every play.

“Kyle Parker gives us the best chance to win. No question. Tajh has gotten better every single week (in practice) and I’m so excited about the future with Tajh. But, I just want to make it clear. Kyle Parker has represented Clemson in such a great way for three years, in two sports. This guy walked away from $900,000 to be here. He wants to be here. For anyone (fans) to question his commitment, they’re off their rocker. This guy is a big time competitor.

On running back situation

“Roderick McDowell is going to have an opportunity to step up and show he’s ready. He’s practiced hard and gotten better, and he’s a very talented back. His opportunity is now. I tell these guys all the time to prepare for your opportunity. He had a good practice last night. It’s a challenge to Jamie too to step up and take his game to another level.

“Daniel Barnes will be the third running back. Rod’s just a freshman. He has to become a better practice player. His intensity at practice and his sense of urgency on some things needs to get better.

On NC State defense

“They’ve just got some different pressure packages. You can see them mixed in, what Coach (Jon) Tenuta did at Georgia Tech. He’s a very creative guy and we have a lot of experience with him. He’s a good veteran football coach.

On kicking game

“Richard Jackson is going to get his opportunity. I’m proud of him. Here’s a senior that was beaten out for the job, fair and square. He hasn’t pouted, he’s shown up and has tried to be a leader and has been very supportive. We’re going to give him the opportunity to finish this season and his senior year off well.

Chandler Catanzaro has been lights out on the practice field, but it hasn’t transferred to game day. Cat-man is a freshman, but we have to give someone else an opportunity. I expect Richard to perform well.

On injuries

“The injury bug has bitten us a little bit. (Andre) Ellington is a big loss. He’s going to be out at least two weeks. We’re hopeful going to get Carlton Lewis back for Florida State and Kourtnei Brown will be out a couple games too. Miguel Chavis hasn’t quite responded as well as we thought he would with treatment and he’s still questionable too.

What are you playing for?

“We play for Clemson. We play for that paw on our helmet. We play to win against NC State. Anything (in the ACC race) can happen if you keep playing hard. This is about playing for Clemson. These guys have laid it on the line. It’s about playing for the guy next to you. It’s about playing for Clemson.

“These guys have hope. They believe in themselves. There’s a lot of quitters out there, but not on this team. We’re on the path to success , I know that. We’re on the difficult road to success, but we’re going to continue.

“We’re 4-4 and I’m not happy about it. But, that’s where we are. To me, the glass is half full and it always will be. It’s just about the next game and playing at a high level. I’m not happy with the short-term results, but I know that we’re on the path to get the long-term results that we want. This season's not over. We’re going to finish as strong as we possibly can. We’re going to line up and play hard against NC State.

On Russell Wilson

“Russell Wilson has made a lot of plays. I think their tight end (George Bryan) is outstanding. Everything is just clicking for them right now. I’m happy for Coach O’Brien and his staff.

“I remember when everyone was talking about how bad Russell Wilson (years ago) was playing. He’s pushed through that and is now playing at an outstanding level. That’s all good, but I want to beat them as bad as we can. They don’t have that many designed runs for Russell, but it’s not a major part of their package. Where he is dangerous is in the passing game. They’re like 65% pass. We’re going to have to do a great job with our coverages. We have to be smart in how we mix our coverages and how we defend against him.


Father in law of offensive line coach Brad Scott and grandfather to wide receiver coach Jeff Scott passed away and will mean that both miss some time this week.

NC State game will be the military appreciation game. The team talked about what Memorial Stadium means in fall camp.

On Kyle Parker: "Kyle Parker is not the reason we have lost 4 ball games, far from it."

"Kyle Parker gives us the best chance to win right now and I am about winning right now. I want to beat NC State."

"We don't have any controversy. I just want to be clear."

Running back Andre Ellington will miss at least two games. He will meet with a specialist this week from Charlotte to see if his diagnosis and treatment are in line. Jamie Harper will be the starter with Rod McDowell and Daniel Barnes as his backups.

Defensive lineman Miguel Chavis who missed the BC game has not responded as well as the doctors thought over the weekend. He will continue to be evaluated this week and will be listed questionable for the NC State game.

Defensive end Kourtnei Brown will miss at least two game with a high ankle sprain while Swinney hopes to have safety Carlton Lewis for the Florida State game.

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