Swinney previews Georgia Tech, calls the option an equalizer

by - Staff Writer -

CLEMSON – Dabo Swinney Dabo Swinney
Head Coach
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isn’t concerned about his defense making the big plays because this week he just wants everyone to do their jobs.

The Clemson Tigers will take on cross-division rival Georgia Tech in a rare Thursday night game in Death Valley, and facing the Tech’s option offense is a huge challenge for a team that faces spread offenses on a regular basis.

Swinney said during his weekly press conference that Georgia Tech’s offense can lull defenses to sleep, but will hit a big play as soon as opposing teams get comfortable which is why it’s so important that everyone focus on doing their jobs.

“It's their ability to keep the ball if they can out-execute you and it's also the big play,” Swinney said in the West Zone. “They lull you to sleep and then they hit the big play. They don't throw it a lot - their leading receiver has 19 catches. But you have to be disciplined. This game isn't about making plays. It's about doing your job. As soon as you don't, you pay for it. You can't get bored. Our d-tackle has to do his job so others can do their jobs.”

Georgia Tech’s offense is predicated on ball control and Swinney said that his team must win the turnover margin and get off the field on third down.

“Offensively, these guys are always tough with what they do,” Swinney said. “They have good players that have great knowledge of the system. The key for us is to win the line of scrimmage. Be disciplined with their eyes. Tackling is at a premium. With what they do you have to be good with one-on-one tackles. We have to create turnovers leveraging the ball. We have to do a better job of that.

“We have to be very good on first down and third down. Their philosophy is they are a four down team for most of the game. We have to create as many third and long situations as we can and get off the field.”

Defensively, Swinney said that Georgia Tech 12th-ranked defense is one of the best that the Tigers have faced this season.

“Defensively, they have six seniors starting for them,” Swinney said. “They have one of the better defenses we've seen all year. They are top 15 in a lot of categories defensively. They gave up negative rushing yards to Pitt and Pitt beat Notre Dame. And it starts up front. No. 93 [Emmanuel Dieke] was a backer for them last year and now in a four-man front is incredible. No. 11 [Brandon Watts] is a guy that shows up in all the stats. No. 14 [Jemea Thomas] is a guy who is one of the best players in this conference.

Swinney said that despite playing on a Thursday night game, the team needs great fan support to will the team to a much-needed win.

“It’s another big challenge for us this week against Georgia Tech,” Swinney said. “It's always tough. Every single year. Another rivalry game. Definitely a game both teams want to win in a very bad way. I know it's a different deal but we really need a great environment. Need a great crowd.”

Other notes

On the option

“It's an equalizer. It really is. You can eliminate things. You know, Vic BeasleyVic Beasley
RS Jr. Defensive End
#3 6-3, 225
Adairsville, GA

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probably isn't going to get a lot of sacks. Who knows? So you can neutralize a guy like that. The Navy's the Air Force's the Georgia Tech's, they always have success. You don't have to be as big and physical up front. It's a totally different philosophy. There are a lot of ways to skin a cat. It's about what you believe in. And Paul Johnson has been as good anybody in the country at doing it. He knows it. He's got answers. He's done it so long and he understands how to attack things. But you still have to block people. You know, blocking and tackling. Same things. It comes down to those same things.”

On being in BCS Bowl contention

“This is when it matters. This is November the 12th. It matters big time how we play. This is when people really separate. We will be judged on how we finish. That is what November is all about. Heck, if Georgia Tech wins this game, they can be right there with a share of the division and can go to Charlotte. This team has a great opportunity. A BCS opportunity.”

On Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee

“He's played a lot for them. Hee's experienced. He's like [Josh] Nesbitt and [Tevin] Washington and all the other guys they've rolled in there and had success with. That guy has to be the catalyst and the decision maker. He's done a good job. They've had some turnovers but he's also made some big throws down the field. He's smart and plays tough.

On welcoming new Clemson president Dr. Jim Clement

“First of all I want to congratulate our new President. Excited about Dr. Clement and his family. Had a short time to spend with him yesterday and I'm excited about him leading our university.”

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