Highlights from Dabo Swinney's Sunday teleconference

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Dabo Swinney Sunday Teleconference (MP3 Format)

CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney held his weekly teleconference with the media on Sunday afternoon, and said that while he understands his team still has a shot at an Atlantic Division title, he just wants to concentrate on getting better. And winning one game on the road.

The Tigers are winless on the road this season, and travel to Tallahassee to take on Florida St. in an 8 p.m. matchup this Saturday that has division title implications.

"It's November. We do have a chance,” Swinney said. "There's definitely an opportunity out there. As long as we've got a chance, that's all you can ask for. But for us, it's about us trying to get better and win a game on the road. That's what we've got to focus on. We have to worry about what we can control and that's how we prepare for FSU. We do have control over how we play, regardless of what happens in our conference. We're trying to have a good, strong finish. Whatever happens, happens."

Clemson knocked off 25th-ranked North Carolina State yesterday, and Swinney said it was good to see his team finally win a close one.

"Yesterday was a really good win for us,” he said. “It wasn't pretty but it was a W. It was nice to be able to watch the film, and say ‘Dang, we didn’t do some good things but still found a way to win’, despite seeing some things that weren't good. It was a great job of the guys keeping on. They had opportunities to quit and they didn't do that.”

The defense held the high-scoring Pack to just 13 points and 270 yards of total offense, and Swinney gave credit to two of his defensive leaders.

"Defensively, the players of the game were DeAndre [McDaniel] and Da'Quan [Bowers],” Swinney said. “They were both outstanding. We had great energy. We're playing with a lot of confidence on defense. That team was scoring 35 points a game and to hold them to 13 points was quite an accomplishment. In the red zone, we did a good job of holding them to two field goals. We won the fourth quarter and that's something that we really talked about Friday night as a team. I felt like it was going to be a close game, because really our wins were not very close. The biggest thing we talked about was winning the fourth quarter. We did that offensively and defensively. “

The offense struggled to complete drives and had just 70 total yards in the second, but both Clemson touchdowns were scored in the final half of the game. Quarterback Kyle Parker was benched briefly in the second quarter, but came back to lead both scoring drives.

"Offensively, they didn't quit,” Swinney said. “It wasn't pretty, but we found a way to score a couple of touchdowns. I'm really proud of KP going 20-for-29, making some big throws. We did a good job on third down. Jamie Harper, I thought, played very hard. The receivers are continuing to grow up. They’re not perfect but they continue to grow up. We didn't have any drops. We had 14 catches by the wideouts. But obviously the fumbles were really, really bad. And we had four sacks, which we had not had. We just had some communication issues, things we have to get cleaned up this week. “

Parker won the offensive player of the game, while punter Dawson Zimmerman and defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins [blocked field goal] were the special teams players of the game.

A week after freshman Chandler Catanzaro missed two critical field goals at Boston College, senior kicker Richard Jackson missed two against the Wolfpack, and Swinney said the competition was back open.

“I don’t know who will kick,” Swinney said. “I'll tell you on Thursday. I'll be watching that very closely. It's been a frustrating thing. We'll probably let all three of our guys battle it out this week and go from there." He [Jackson] just didn't make the kick. It's really that simple. The first one was a low snap. The ball was down and he's got to kick it. We'll just keep going. Richard could be the starter again this week. We'll see how they do in practice."

In the injury front, Swinney said the Tigers had no new injuries on Saturday, and should have several players back for Florida St. Defensive end Kourtnei Brown, defensive tackle Miguel Chavis, defensive back Carlton Lewis and wide receiver Jaron Brown all should all be available against the Seminoles.

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