Swinney: I Just Want To Win

by - Senior Writer -
After Clemson's five game winning streak, Dabo Swinney is 11-6 as the head football coach.

Dabo Swinney teleconference, Windows Media

CLEMSON -- Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said after Saturday’s win over North Carolina State that the Clemson football team would be watching the results of the Boston College and Virginia game very closely, and should Virginia pull off the upset and effectively hand the ACC Atlantic Division title to the Tigers, passers-by might get a YouTube moment as the team stopped the buses and did a dance on the side of the road.

Swinney said that the team was really unable to follow the game, however, on the buses, and relied on updates they got from watching the North Carolina/Miami game, but said in the end, it doesn’t matter when the Tigers clinch, as long as they clinch.

“We were getting some periodical updates,” Swinney said. “But to be honest with you, I just want to win. I don't sit around and worry about somebody else is doing. Let's play our best. Let's not worry about them getting beat. We're in control, so it just doesn't matter about anybody else. That's Boston College's job to win or lose or whatever it is they're going to do. Let's line up and play. I don't want anything given to us. Let's try to earn what we get. That's what we're going to try to do Saturday."

If the Tigers play Saturday like they did against the Wolfpack, a celebration around 7 p.m. in Death Valley could be in the works, and Swinney that after watching the film, he was pleased with the 43-23 win.

“Got through all the film and it was a really good team win,” Swinney said. “Definitely was our most complete game on the road. The penalties were disappointing. Defensively, we pressured well. We had two sacks and an interception. We had 20 quarterback pressures. We didn't do a good job on third down. We had four penalties on third down. That led to some opportunities for them to keep drives going. Outside of penalties, we played solid on defense.

"Offensively I thought we played our best game of the year, by far. It was just very clean execution and very few mistakes. Had no turnovers, so we continue to stay on the plus side. We ran the ball well. Our offensive line is continuing to get better and better. They're playing with confidence. It's good to see us run the ball like we did.”

Swinney said the missed extra points were disappointing, but otherwise he was pleased with the play of the special teams.

“Special teams were solid, but we didn't know what was going to happen from a kickoff standpoint, which led to some good field position for us,” Swinney said. “Spencer Benton had a good day outside of one extra point. The other wasn't a good hold. We'll keep working there and see if we can continue to grow some consistency there.

“We've got Richard and Benton. Richard did a good job with his one opportunity yesterday. We were trying to compete last week and Richard kind of made it easy for me. We'll see how it goes this week, watch them in practice every day and hopefully they'll be consistent all week."

Swinney said that even though the Tigers are peaking at the right time of the year, Saturday needs to be an even better effort against what will be a Virginia team determined to knock the Tigers off.

"This needs to be our best week, and we can't afford to look ahead,” Swinney said. “This is a team that has been good with daily focus. We'll prepare just like we always have. I do believe our team has some confidence, but we're a very humble team because we haven't done anything. We have to continue to have that purpose, which is to try to win.

“We have a chance to win our first-ever division championship at home on senior day. If we're going to be a championship team, we have to take care of business. Virginia is very capable. I say it every week. You can throw records out the window. You have to show up and play in this conference every week or you'll get beat. I'm proud of our guys. We just have to dig in and show some endurance this week and finish the right way. I'm excited about coming back home for this last conference game. Hopefully the crowd will be great."

Swinney also said that Thomas Austin, who rolled an ankle against the Wolfpack, and Da’Quan Bowers, who has missed two games with a knee injury, should be ready to go against the Cavaliers.

“Thomas Austin's swelling was down today,” Swinney said. “He's a smart player, a tough guy. He'll mentally practice and my hope is to have him out there going Thursday. I anticipate him playing in the game, but I won't know more for a couple of days.

"Same thing with Da'Quan. I'm expecting him to play this week, based on what I've seen. We have to cut him loose. He's got to go cut, plant and run around. I can't be 100-percent certain until we see how he reacts to that. In his mind, he feels like he's ready to play. My expectation is that he'll be ready to go in some form or fashion."

Swinney also said it shouldn’t be hard to get the team to focus, considering it will be the last game in Death Valley for several Tiger seniors.

"I remember my last game as a senior,” he said. “Every player has to deal with it at some point. That's a special time for you. It's magnified when you go to college and play at a passionate place like Clemson. I think it'll definitely be an emotional thing for us all.. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy playing this last game. Play every snap like it is your last time to play out there. I don't think it'll be a distraction for us."

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