Swinney Talks to Media About Spring and Quarterback Battle

by - Senior Writer -

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney had his spring wrap-up with the media on Wednesday, and he talked about completing his first spring as head coach, the trip to the University of Texas to meet with Mack Brown and his staff, and the quarterback battle. Following are excerpts from his conversation.

ON SPRING PRACTICE – “We are coming off of a good spring practice. We achieved a lot of the objectives we had going to into the spring, but the main thing is that we are very healthy. That is one of the main things you have to worry about when you have to go to work. We finished with the spring game and had a great crowd and a very competitive game, and overall I am very pleased. On offense, we really improved up front, which was the No. 1 objective. We also got some answers at the quarterback position, and now there is some competition there. We are also excited about the running backs, and having C.J. back. We know what he can do to opponents. In the passing game, we lost some good receivers, but we had some guys step up and make progress in that area. On defense, the big thing was the new staff, and getting everybody on the same page, and making sure the players are in the right position. The strength of our defense will be our defensive line, and we have a chance to be very solid in the secondary. The kicking battle will be a battle all through camp. Spencer Benton and Richard Jackson both got better overall. They had a good spring, and we’re looking forward to a good summer.”

ON TAKING THE STAFF TO AUSTIN TO VISIT THE LONGHORN STAFF - “We actually took the whole staff out to Texas, really looking at their program as a whole. From a head coaching standpoint, you want to take them somewhere where they are doing a great job. I have a lot of respect for Coach Brown, because he has won big at Texas, won at North Carolina. We have won a national championship here, and it has been a long time. When Mack Brown went there, it had been since 1970 since they had won one, and then they won it in 2005. I was interested in visiting them to see what he did when he took over in getting people to believe and the change the culture. It was a great experience for me – it was almost like sitting down and having the Cliff Notes of Coaching 101. From an X’s and O’s standpoint, we are similar in a lot of ways. On defense, they are an attacking-type defense like we want to be. I took six pages of coaching notes, but I think what I learned most is that Clemson is a very special job. The grass is not always greener on the other side. We are very blessed.”

ON WHETHER THE CHANCE THAT TWO-SPORT STAR KYLE PARKER COULD LEAVE AFTER NEXT SEASON TO PURSUE A BASEBALL CAREER HAS ANY SWAY IN THE DECISION OF A STARTING QUARTERBACK - “Absolutely not. My thought process is on Sept. 5th. Next year will take care of itself. We have to do everything we can to win every game this year. We are going to play the best guy no matter who it is. If it is dead even, we will play them both, but hopefully it settles on the field.”

ON HAVING C.J. SPILLER BACK FOR ANOTHER YEAR – “In my opinion he is the best player in the conference, and the best player in the country. I am very biased, but I am extremely high on C.J. Knowing we have a weapon like that is more important than ever. Having C.J. back is a great comfort.”

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