Dabo defends his decision to not kick the field goal
|Sunday, September 4, 2016, 7:38 PM- -|
Dabo Swinney has had a chance to watch last night’s game film in depth, and he’s had a few hours to sleep on his decision to go for it on fourth down. He still wouldn’t kick the field goal.
Clemson led Auburn 19-13 in Saturday night’s victory at Jordan-Hare Stadium, and had the ball at the Auburn 23-yard line facing a 3rd-and-10 with 50 seconds remaining in the contest. Auburn was out of timeouts, but instead of having quarterback Deshaun Watson take a knee or run a few seconds off the clock before falling down, the Tigers handed it to running back Wayne Gallman. Gallman ran for six yards to the Auburn 17, but he also ran out of bounds.
With the clock stopped, Clemson could have attempted a 41-yard field goal, but Swinney elected to hand the ball to Gallman instead of attempting the three-pointer. Gallman gained two yards, and Auburn took over with 40 seconds to play. Auburn had a chance for a touchdown with two desperation heaves at the end, but both passes were knocked away in the end zone.
Swinney defended his decision on Sunday night’s teleconference with the media and they thought about having Watson take a knee.
“We talked about that. We knew it was going to be close, but we felt like we called a safe play right there” Swinney said. “We trust Wayne Gallman. He ends up bouncing out. The competitiveness of him took over and he made a bad decision in that moment. Most of the time we would kick a field goal, but in that moment, in those circumstances, in that situation, and we were all in agreement in what wanted to do, no. We'd already seen a high snap, a low kick and our defense had played well. And they hadn't demonstrated they could go down the field passing the ball on us. If we had executed the game is over. With 40 seconds and no timeouts, 83 yards to the end zone I'll take my chances with that. And that was the decision we made in that moment. Maybe if it was a different circumstance offensively we make a different decision. We won the game.”
Swinney on watching the tape
“After getting the chance to watch this tape and really dissect it, I just want to say how proud I am of the effort that our team put forth. They played really hard. It was an outstanding win in a very tough situation. Although we weren't as clean, especially offensively, as we would've liked to have been, we were able to do some good things at some critical times on offense and defense. Overall, it was a great experience for us early in the season to help us grow from. We've got some tape now - some things we can coach and teach from. I thought Auburn played extremely hard and competed all the way to the end, as well. They don't have anything to be disappointed about as far as what they can do moving forward. Great experience for us especially since we are going to have some tough road games down the road and to be able to have that under our belt as we continue to move through our season.
“Defensively, just an outstanding job. 14 tackles for loss and three sacks and we really dominated third down. Auburn is a team that really hangs their hat running the football. To hold them to 87 yards rushing, I'm just really, really proud of our defense and the poise they displayed in some critical situations. The three turnovers were huge, but they also made some really critical mistakes. For the most part, it's probably the fewest critical errors we've had in a while, especially in an opener, but we had a really, really bad, dumb penalty that led to a touchdown. It would've been fourth and 10 if we don't hit the quarterback out of bounds. Those are the type of things that you can't do. We gave up a big play when we're in a three-deep and our three-deep safety is playing the run. A couple of critical errors, but our defense just played tremendous. I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage. Those guys were disruptive. I'm just pleased. Auburn presented a lot of challenges because there were a lot of unknowns going into the game and then trying to manage all of the formations and personnel and different quarterbacks. It was a unique night and I thought our defense did a tremendous job.
“It's a great start for us and something we can build on. Offensively, the biggest thing I'm most pleased with is we did have some critical drives when we needed them. We started a little slow and it took us a little too long to get our rhythm but we had some good drives that we didn't finish. We did have some critical drives in the game and I was very pleased to see that. The most disappointing thing was the procedure issues. Obviously, we jump offsides the first play and then we waste a few timeouts before the half because we couldn't get the signal in. Then we break the huddle from the sideline and we've got a guy who didn't know the play. That was disappointing and we had four drops - three touchdowns. The four drops were critical plays for us. Then we had some mental errors - not staying in bounds at the end of the game. At the end of the day, to take that ball with three minutes and 20 seconds left when it's 19-13 on the road at the end of the fourth quarter, they just scored and have momentum. To march down the field, we managed that well other than we went out of bounds. We could've ended the game. That was huge and some big plays. It was good to see our guys respond and show some maturity in that situation. There were some good things but we definitely did not play anywhere near what I expected to see offensively. I don't have any doubt that we're going to get better.”
“Special teams, we did some good things there. I was disappointed with the extra point that we missed and then we had a high snap that was a great play by Seth Ryan in getting that ball down and then a good job by Greg Huegel in kicking through the high snap. That was a 40-yard field goal that was critical for us at that time.”
Playing at home, injuries and players of the game
“A good game. We get on tape. We found a way to win the opener, which is our goal. I'm looking forward to getting back home. This was our fifth game in a row away from Clemson, so it's going to be good to get back in the Valley for the next couple of weeks. We've got a lot of teaching to do and we've got to develop our football team. I'm looking forward to that part of it these next couple of weeks. Health wise, we came out of it good. We didn't have any injuries that will keep anybody out of practice or anything like that. Those are all positives from this game. The players of the game were Taylor Hearn, which is great to see him. I thought he really did a good job. This was his first career start and for him to get the player of the game in a game that we gave up no sacks. I'm really proud of Taylor. Christian Wilkins, defensively. Seth Ryan was the special teams player of the game.”
The play of Dexter Lawrence
“He played great. He graded very well - at 80 something percent. Y'all just got to see what we've been seeing since he got here. He's a really good football player and has great instincts for a young guy. He's hard to block. He's a load and he's productive. He gets off blocks and he plays well with his eyes. I'm really proud of him. For a young guy and for his first game to get that type of experience and really not flinch - that sack he made against an athletic quarterback was a tremendous play. That's going to bode well as he continues to move forward and grow his game experience and confidence with it.”
“They both played pretty solid last night. Mark played about 37 plays. Carter graded at about 90-percent on 33 plays. For a first time out, they were very solid. The biggest thing is developing our guys behind them. Hopefully we'll get Marcus Edmond back this week. I thought they played a very clean game.”
Jalen Williams playing the nickel
"Jalen did a good job. I think the biggest thing in this first game was that he's a guy that Brent Venables really trusted in a couple of those situations. We've got a couple of other young guys - db type guys that you're going to see as we move forward, but the biggest thing was the trust factor with Jalen. He's definitely a guy that you'll continue to see as we go through the season. He's a really good football players that's smart and instinctive and will definitely have a solid role on our team."
“He played very well. He had one critical mistake and that was the play action down the middle. He was the three-deep safety. He's caught up looking in the backfield worrying about helping on the run. It was his only critical error of the game. But he played really well throughout the game. He has been consistent throughout all of fall camp. I'm proud of him. It's a great start of him.”