Swinney: Branch back to defensive end

by - Senior Writer -
Jonathan Meeks got the start against Georgia Tech and performed very well.

Dabo Swinney Sunday Teleconference (MP3 Format)

CLEMSON – Starting defensive end Andre Branch moved to linebacker against Georgia Tech, while Jonathan Meeks got the start at safety in Clemson’s 27-13 win over the Yellow Jackets, but expect to see only one of those players in the same spot next Saturday against Boston College.

The Tiger defense effectively shut down the Tech option attack, due in no small part to the play of both Branch and Meeks, but Swinney said during his Sunday teleconference that he expects Branch to be back at defensive end this week.

"That was kind of a game-plan deal,” Swinney said of the move “He's much more suited for defensive end. Without him, we've only got three guys at defensive end. Right now, I'd anticipate him staying at bandit, which is kind of a hybrid position anyway."

Meeks got the surprise start, and played well. It was his tipped pass on Tech’s last possession that led to DeAndre McDaniel’s interception, and Swinney said he definitely earned another chance.

“He played very well. 41 plays, five tackles and two pass-breakups,” Swinney said. “He's getting more confident and playing fast. He's starting to blossom a little bit. I'm really excited to see that. He started the game Saturday. I'd say based on how he played Saturday, I'd say that could continue. But a lot of these decisions are made in practice. He performed very well, so he got the start. We're starting to develop accountability, competition and depth."

Swinney said that the Georgia Tech game film was what he expected.

"The film was what I thought it was,” he said. “A very well-executed game plan on both sides of the ball. We're starting to play smarter. That hurt us earlier in the year. They're starting to learn how to play smarter and it's paying off big time. I'm proud of the way they played. We have a lot of respect for Georgia Tech and have had some tough battles. To be able to win convincingly was a great accomplishment for our team. We'll watch the tape with them tomorrow.”

Swinney said that the only injury that caused any concern happened to linebacker Daniel Andrews. He tore his ACL and is out for the rest of the season.

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