Listen to the full Dabo Swinney interview Here:
Dan: College football has evolved into a year around thing, is two weeks really enough time to recharge the batteries?
Swinney: It better be. We get a couple more weeks of down time, even when you are gone there is always something to do. It is nice to get a way from the football side because when you get back there are so many things pulling you, meetings, letters, studying film, just trying to get a head start on things. It is a year round thing but you get to do what you love, so no complaints here.
Dan: What is it like to work with Rob Spence?
Swinney: It’s been great working with Rob. It’s a lot like a guy I worked with at Alabama, named Charlie Stubbs, who I loved working with. He's great. I love the system and like the flexibility that we have in getting in and out of the right play and being able to play in what Rob calls a down hill mode, avoiding sacks and negative plays, spreading the ball around with a progression and giving Charlie some flexibility. I really like his philosophy and what he's brought in as far as the receivers go. We are still a spread offense. The biggest difference is we are more multiple with our running game and formation to run the ball. Last year we were 85-90% drop back when we threw the ball. This year we'll be at least 50% play action. Those things really help you in a running standpoint and now in your passing game. I'm excited about it. The terminology is the biggest adjustment these guys have had to adjust to. There are certain elements of a one back offense that no matter where you go they're going to be there. Things that have carried over from one offense to another, but it’s a different way to say it. It’s a little tweaking to do something a little bit different. We did change the tempo on some things a little bit and it has been exciting for them, they've enjoyed it and know that they have the opportunity to touch the ball and I am real excited about the chemistry.
Dan: What makes you think that the wide receiver core will be more consistent this year?
Swinney: To be honest, I'm sleeping better this year than last year, of course you are always optimistic and take what you've got and go to work. The same questions are there this year, but I've got a lot more answers. We are just a more talented, deeper, tougher, more cohesive unit. It's no comparison to where we were last year. This is an extremely talented bunch of wide outs. Yeah we're going to be young, and we have some guys that haven't played a lot, but I really like the makeup of this group. We still have some guys that are going to have to answer some questions and perform and be a part of the team concept and that kind of thing. With the addition of the two freshman, we have eight guys that are good enough and even a ninth guy that can be a contributor. We've got enough guys that can truly compete and are good enough to play and guys that are going to want to play. We did not have a lot of competition last year at the position. I don't think we had the chemistry or the overall ability, but this year, with those first five guys coming out of spring, Chansi (Stuckey), Kelvin (Grant), Curtis (Baham), La’Donte (Harris), and Aaron Kelly, those five guys are ready to play. They are much more confident. Chansi has developed into a receiver now. He's had a year under his belt. Curtis is a solid veteran guy who needs opportunities. Kelvin has certainly got the talent. His individual achievements will come through the team and if he stays on the same track that he's on, he'll have a great year. I am so excited about Aaron Kelly and La’Donte, those two kids are really going to help us this year. And after that I feel like those two freshman will make an impact. They don't have to come in as starters. I am excited about Andrew Diomande and his progress. It's a whole different year. I'm excited about the talent, the work ethic but our overall chemistry as a team. I think this is going to be a great year for us.
Dan: Who do you see being the go-to-guy for Charlie Whitehurst?
Swinney: I think Chansi is going to be spectacular, if I had to say one guy right now. I think he's the guy you better find a way to get the ball to every week because he's going to help us win. He can make plays and is extremely tough, has a great work ethic, and he's the leader of our group without question. He pays a tremendous price on a daily basis to be the best. You just love that as a coach, especially when its one of your most talented guys. I'm excited about having him for two more years, and the kind of year he is going to have. I am certainly hoping that Kelvin reaches his potential this year. He has God-given, unbelievable ability. There is not that much difference in talent right now with those guys. You would like to put the most talented guys on the field, but sometimes its not that way. You want the best players and that's not always the most talented. Based on what I've seen, I think that Kelvin is going to have a great year. He's got the light coming on for him and he's hungry. He's got to come through for us and I think he'll do it.
Listen to the full Dabo Swinney interview Here: Real Audio - Windows Media
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger and TigerNet. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.