Swinney on fan disappointment: We went to win the game and we did
|Tuesday, September 6, 2016, 1:54 PM-|
CLEMSON – Much as been made over the last four days about Clemson’s offensive performance last weekend at Auburn, but Dabo Swinney isn’t worried in the least.
Actually, he’s thrilled that people are concerned.
The Tigers managed just 19 points on The Plains against Auburn, but amassed 399 yards of total offense, and Swinney apologized – sarcastically – during his Tuesday press conference to those who have griped and complained since the conclusion of Clemson’s opener.
“I'm sorry we disappointed them. That's all I can tell them. We went to win the game and that's what we did,” Swinney said Tuesday in the WestZone. “We did drop three touchdown passes that we normally catch. We did have a fumble in scoring position. We weren't quite as clean. 4th-and-five, we're going to hit Deon Cain for a touchdown and he get a tipped ball. Then another third down, we get a tipped ball because we don't cut the guy like we're supposed. We just miscued on a few things, so we'll be just fine offensively.
“I think that's great, to be honest with you. I think that means we've become a relevant program when there's a group of people who aren't even happy when you win. I feel sorry for those folks. We're happy to win. We're always going to get better. I can remember a time not very long ago when nobody would've expected us to go to Auburn at eight o'clock on national TV, in primetime, and win. Now, we're expected to win which is awesome and we're supposed to win by a certain amount, but that's not my objective. My job is to win football games, not make other people happy by how we win. My job is to win games and that's what we try to do each and every week and we've been pretty consistent. I love that mentality and expectation. That's where we want this program to be.”
Swinney did apologize to some of his players for not getting them on the field.
“That was one of the biggest disappointments for me coming out of the game. I did a poor job of managing our personnel like I wanted to,” Swinney said. “First game and very difficult place. I'm going to do a better job of that. I apologized to some of the guys. It's frustrating to me when you have some guys who deserve to play that don't get the opportunity to get in there. A guy like Maverick Morris, Justin Falcinelli - they deserve to play. There's no entitlement to play. Sometimes you have guys who are pretty close - like at d-tackle - and you just play them.
“Then you have situations like a Tre Lamar - he's a young guy and Kendall Joseph has been here three years - and he's coming but those eight plays he got we're critical. I did a poor job. We should've gotten Justin and Maverick in there. I should've got J.D. Davis in there. He's had a great camp. Albert Huggins is another guy that should've played. That's an area we've got to do a better job of and that's all on me. I've got to manage that a whole lot better because you've got to develop your team. These guys work really, really hard and the guys that deserve to play we've got to get in there so that we can develop the depth we're going to need in the long haul. Sometimes you get in the moment of the game and as coaches, you get so caught up in that situation.”
One thing fans were surprised to see was the play of the defense, and Swinney said he was pleased – for the most part – with the performance of the young defenders.
“They really played well. We didn't really know. We had a good base plan and we had a Plan A and Plan B of different things we could see. They did a heck of a job,” Swinney said. “We had a couple of things from an alignment standpoint, eye discipline standpoint where we weren't quite where we needed to be, but the overall discipline that we played with was very good. I think we only had three or four mental errors which was way down from last year in our opener. I was very pleased with some of the guys that I thought would play well - Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Kendall Joseph, Jadar Johnson, Van Smith, Dexter Lawrence. I thought they would play well but it's good to see it come to fruition. They played very, very well.
“They dominated the line of scrimmage - 15 tackles for loss, four sacks. Just disruptive and we created the three turnovers, including the fourth-down hit by Ben Boulware. The two biggest issues we had defensively were with nine minutes to go you're up two touchdowns, and we bust cover three because our middle safety wants to come make a play on a play action and that's not his job. That's where we have to grow as a defense because that got us in trouble last year. We would get undisciplined when we would have leads, and that's where we have to improve.”
With Auburn in the rearview mirror, Swinney has turned his attention to Troy, a team he said is very capable of leaving Death Valley with a win.
“I want to see us get better. I want to see us grow our strengths, improve our weaknesses, develop our team, play with great passion, and appreciation for the place that we have here. I want to see us improve and find a way to win,” he said. “That's the bottom line. It's going to be a tough game and a tough challenge. People that look at Troy and go, 'Troy, where is that?' Let me just tell you, these old boys can play. They will come here confident and ready to win. They're going to beat some people. They're going to be somebody they're not supposed to beat. I just hope it's not the Clemson Tigers, so we've got to have a great week of preparation.”
Austin Bryant health update
"He's doing good. He doesn't really have a set day. It truly is a day-to-day thing. It's kind of on his human body on how quickly he heals up. He's doing very well and just as we expected getting better day by day. Certainly out this week and next week and we'll go from there. I think it's a chance he'll be back by Georgia Tech, but I don't think we can speculate on that until we get through the next couple of weeks."
Marcus Edmond injury update
"He's 100-percent. He could've played Saturday, but he missed so much time. It was just a situation that we would've played him if we needed him. He would've been the first guy in there, but we didn't."
Christian Wilkins' versatility
"He just plays d-line. He's a d-lineman and gives us a lot of versatility. He can play the shade, the 3-technique, the five, the jet-9 technique. We can do whatever we need to do with Christian Wilkins. He can be anywhere."
"He's special. I have never been around one like him ever. He's just a different guy - his mentality, his coachability, his maturity, his demeanor. He's just a very selfless guy, very humble, very smart and incredibly athletic. He is gifted for his size. You just don't see many human beings like him."
Lawrence, Wilkins jumbo package
"When we signed Dexter and I saw him this spring, I said, 'Yep, we're going to be using this big boy.' We didn't mess with it in the spring. We brought it to them this summer and said this is what we're going to do. We're going to have a little package and use these guys. We just started practicing in fall camp. We have a nice package that we can go to when we need it. Those are some big, heavy duty guys that take pride in that. It's not rocket science. Can you get one yard? Can you move one guy against his will? We throw fake punts to d-tackles, so you never know what we're going to do around here."
Clelin Ferrell's improvement from last year
"Physically. Confidence. We almost played him last year, but he was coming off of that knee surgery and didn't quite have his foundation the way it needed to be in our opinion. We really wanted to throw him in that power hour and let Joey (Batson) transform him a little bit but we kept him with us for the first four or five games because we didn't really know what was going to happen."
The matchup with Troy
"Troy has 16 or 17 starters back. They don't have a lot of seniors, but they got a lot of guys that have played a lot of ball coming back. Biggest thing I can tell you about Troy is this is a dangerous football team. A lot of you guys will sit there and say that is coach speak. No I am telling you right now if they just had Auburn across their chest.This bunch right here can play. Very, very impressed with how well coached they are. I don't know Coach Brown, but I look forward to meeting him and telling him just that. I know this i his second year, but I am telling you now this is a very buttoned up football team. They are impressive in all areas. How they look. How they handle themselves. They are, again, well coached. They have a good scheme on both sides that they are committed to and they know what they are doing.
"Offensively this running back, we are going to have to put our big boy britches on to tackle this guy. He is a man. He is a 230 something pound back that looks like an NFL player. He is a big time player. They played a couple of quarterbacks last week. Both of them can throw it. They are good up front, veterans up front. Bunch of skill guys at receiver. I'm telling you this is a group that know what they are doing. They went to App last year. I think we have an understanding of App State who went 11-2 last year and we all saw what just happened in Knoxville, but they go to App and it is a 44-41 shootout. This bunch right here is going to beat a bunch of people this year. So I got great respect for this team that we are getting ready to play. They are precise in what they do on offense. Big challenge for our defense, very,very big challenge."
FSU quarterback Deondre Francios
"He was impressive. I thought he played a great game. It was a great win. A lot of poise to get down. They had some mistakes early and got down so to have the poise and the confidence to come back. That was impressive to watch."
On Troy being a formidable opponent
"Troy has 16 or 17 starters back. They don't have a lot of seniors, but they got a lot of guys that have played a lot of ball coming back. The biggest thing I can tell you about Troy is this is a dangerous football team. A lot of you guys will sit there and say that is coach speak. No, I am telling you right now if they just had Auburn across their chest. This bunch right here can play. Very, very impressed with how well coached they are. I don't know Coach Brown, but I look forward to meeting him and telling him just that. I know this I his second year, but I am telling you now this is a very buttoned up football team. They are impressive in all areas. How they look. How they handle themselves. They are, again, well coached. They have a good scheme on both sides that they are committed to, and they know what they are doing. Offensively this running back, we are going to have to put our big boy britches on to tackle this guy. He is a man. He is a 230 something pound back that looks like an NFL player. He is a big time player. They played a couple of quarterbacks last week. Both of them can throw it. They are good upfront, veterans upfront. A bunch of skill guys at receiver. I'm telling you this is a group that knows what they are doing. They went to App last year. I think we have an understanding of App State who went 11-2 last year, and we all saw what just happened in Knoxville, but they go to App, and it is a 44-41 shootout. This bunch right here is going to beat a bunch of people this year. So I got great respect for this team that we are getting ready to play. They are precise in what they do on offense. The big challenge for our defense, very, very big challenge."
"Defensively the biggest thing that jumps out at me is they are physical, they got good athletes, and they create a lot of turnovers. I think were top 10 in creating turnovers last year. They were fifth in the country in defensive touchdowns last year. So they get their hands on a lot of balls. They got a much, much different scheme than what we saw last week. It was a lot of man coverage. These guys do a lot of different type things from a zone standpoint with some exotic stuff that you don't see all the time with some of the trap corners and different techniques that they play so we will really have to do a good job of being disciplined. When people just line up and do man to man well the decisions get easy. Throw it to that guy and see if we can make a play. When you are playing these zone teams that have people all over the place you have to be very, very disciplined in route running, very ,very discipline at quarterback and making sure that you are reading and keying the right things so you can go through the proper progressions. This is going to be a big challenge for us offensively as well."