Swinney says Clemson ready for opener against Auburn

by - Senior Writer -
Discuss on TigerBoard   Print   | TigerNetcom Facebook ClemsonTigerNet Twitter TigerNet RSS Feed

CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said Tuesday at his weekly press conference that it is not only the fans that are ready for the season to start – his players are ready to hit somebody else and new defensive coordinator Brent Venables is like a “caged animal.”

Clemson opens the season Saturday in the Georgia Dome against Auburn.

“There is a lot of excitement in our team right now because it's game week,” Swinney told the assembled media. “The guys are ready to play somebody. I'm personally looking forward to watch us play and to see where we are against a quality opponent like Auburn. Our team has shown a good attitude and good work ethic. Auburn is a very, very talented team. There are a lot of unknowns with them that we don't know about until we get going in the game.”

Swinney said that Venables is also ready to get the season started, and that only one thing has surprised him about his new coordinator.

“His resume speaks for itself,” Swinney said of Venables. “We spend a lot of time together outside of the office because our kids are the same age. I spend a lot of time with Brent and Chad [Morris]. “That's pretty cool for us. Probably the only thing that surprised me about Brent is that he ran out of gas on the lake. The last Sunday before we cranked it up we were out on the boat with my family and he had 12 guys in from Oklahoma. And here's this guy on the boat with his hat backwards, and he is standing there. And then ten minutes later he calls me and says, 'Remember when you passed me? Well we broke down.' And sure enough he was out of gas. And I had to tow him 30 minutes back to his place. I'm looking forward to getting on the field with him because he's like a caged animal. He's excited. And he's very much enjoyed Clemson.”

Auburn also has two new coordinators, and Swinney said it has been hard to prepare for the unknown.

“We've had to prepare with what we think they are going to do with a new system and also some with what they've done in the past,” he said. “It's a challenge getting ready for two systems. Their quarterback has played in big games already. He's played against Alabama and LSU. Highly-recruited guy and talented player. Good skill at the receiver position. Their tight end is outstanding. No. 43 is a guy they will use a lot of different ways. Very good football player. Their running back, McCalebb is a home run hitter. Has the speed to take it the distance. The guys behind him we don't know a whole lot about but they were all highly recruited. They did get a transfer in from Illinois that is going to be big for them.”

The other Tigers also have a young offensive line.

“Their offensive line is young like we are but they are big and talented and all were highly recruited guys,” he said. “I don't have any doubt they are going to be very good players for Auburn.”

On Auburn’s defense

“Defensively, we've had to look at a lot of different things. At the end of the day we have to focus on yourself and understand your system on game day. I think they want to be a four man front but they'll run a lot of odd as well. They will be much better on defense. 9 or 10 players are back that have started for them. Their D-line is very very good. The two ends, No. 55 and No. 95 are as good as we'll play. Very good football team, especially up front. “

On Auburn’s special teams

“Special teams they have their punter, kicker both back and their return guys. “

On finding out what Clemson has

“For us it's the beginning to find out a lot about our team. We are going to be a work in progress until we get some performance on tape to evaluate from. It's our first goal to win the opener Saturday night.”

On what he expect

“Well we have a pretty good idea. People aren't going to vary too far from what their background tells you they are. In this case, when there's such a philosophy change on both sides of the ball it's different. Based on who they have on campus, will they keep some of the old stuff that fits them? They are going to do what they need to do today.”

On high profile openers

“I do think it's fun. It does create a lot of energy in the fan base and all of that. But most coaches out there if they were honest would tell you that it sure would be nice to have one or two opponents. It's a tough game to get ready for. Very, very talented opponent. We don't have preseason games. It's one of the things I wish we had in college football. High schools do that. NFL does that. It allows you evaluate your guys at a higher level. When you go against each other every day there's only so much you can learn. Having said that, I think it's a ton of fun for college football and it's an opportunity to create momentum early the season.”

On whether Auburn game is special because he is Alabama grad

“Well, it's always been special to play Auburn. Every game is huge. Every game is important. With my background, that was always one of the games that were special. Playing Auburn and Tennessee at Alabama was special. Here playing South Carolina is special. I think we've created a nice little rivalry here the last few years. It's been very competitive. Even going back to the Chick-fil-A bowl when we had an overtime loss. These teams battle hard. It's a natural rivalry like Clemson-Georgia. “

On struggles at Georgia Dome

“Our focus is trying to execute our game plan to win. Regardless of where we play, who we play or what time we play. Our focus is giving our guys a chance to win.”

On right tackle Giff Timothy

“He looks really really good. I'm incredibly encouraged by his progress. He was able to go Thursday and Friday but I want to watch him today and tomorrow and he'll get a lot of competitive work. I'm very encouraged he's going to be able to play unless there's some kind of setback. I do think he'll definitely play right now. How much and whether or not he'll start remains to be seen.”

On his post-game reaction after Auburn win last year

“First of all it was an early game and we had to live with that all evening and all night. There's a tradition at Clemson that's very different than any other place I've ever been and that's that everybody comes on the field at the end. It can be crazy at times. People stick your microphone in your face in a moment of euphoria and I’m never going to apologize for celebrate winning. People have a problem with that then that's their problem. If you look a little deeper and you understand, we hadn't beaten Auburn at Clemson in 60 years. We were 0-14. Including back-to-back overtime losses. On top of that, they are the defending the national champion and they got the longest winning streak in America. It was a big deal. That's something to be excited about. For a football team that has 42 freshmen on the roster, it's probably the biggest win this program has had in a long, long time. It was big for our confidence to take the next step. And then we went on to beat Florida State and Virginia Tech. that's really all it was. I was excited. To end the streak in Death Valley. I was pumped up when I said it. Somebody walks down and puts a microphone in your face, and you look at it and you’re like 'Oh geez.' But I'll never apologize for being excited. “

On difference between 2010 loss and 2011 win

“That was a tough loss. Very tough loss. Stung us a little bit. And our quarterback got hurt and wasn't really quite the same but those are things you have to recover from. Flip side is when you have a bad loss you have to recover from it. You can't let a win create a loss and you can't have a loss create another loss. That's all part of maturing as a team.”

On putting Orange Bowl in the past

“I think 2011 and that Orange Bowl is way behind us. This is about this season and this year. That's the focus. We are out to get our first goal and that is the opener. People bring that up and that's a legitimate question but we lost four games last year, not just one. We aren't going into the season other than proving that we have a good football team in 2012 and that we want to win this conference again. This is just beginning. “

Martin Jenkins update

“Martin is going to have surgery. It's a sports hernia, and he will have surgery either this Thursday or possibly first of the week. “

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to David Hood: Email | Comment Post your comments!
Discuss on TigerBoard   Print   | TigerNetcom Facebook ClemsonTigerNet Twitter TigerNet RSS Feed
Clemson LB signee suffers knee injury playing basketball
Clemson LB signee suffers knee injury playing basketball
Former Clemson RB signs with Bucs
Former Clemson RB signs with Bucs
Clemson targets, commits see movement in new Rivals rankings
Clemson targets, commits see movement in new Rivals rankings
WATCH: Brad Brownell on loss to FSU
WATCH: Brad Brownell on loss to FSU
Post your comments!
Subject (Replies: 26) Author
spacer Front Page Story: Swinney says Clemson ready for opener against Auburn
spacer Re: Front Page Story: Swinney says Clemson ready for opener against Auburn
spacer Dont understand how he can say we're ready with
spacer I'll take the head coach's opinion over yours any day...
spacer We were ready against WVU too, how did that turn out for us***
spacer If coach says his team is ready....
spacer Re: Amen!***
spacer I love Clemson, but Dabo is a glorified cheerleader
spacer You're right
spacer Glorified Cheerleader???
spacer Re: Where is the dang eye roll?
spacer Re: Where is the dang eye roll?
spacer We'll be taking what you say with a grade of slaw.***
Ridgeland Booster®
spacer and youre a glorified chicken***
spacer Re: I love Clemson, but Dabo is a glorified cheerleader
spacer Re: I love Clemson, but Dabo is a glorified cheerleader
spacer Re: I love Clemson, but Dabo is a glorified cheerleader
spacer Use to be called plainsmen so you never know.***
spacer Plainsmen....LOL***
spacer Us lost to FSU!!***
spacer Did u expect Dabo to say that we're not ready? Cut him slack***
spacer He's a coot. Should be checking on my large fries***
spacer Re: Dont understand how he can say we're ready with
spacer Duh! Maybe he should move his weekly game interview
spacer What if Friday's walk through is terrible?***
spacer Re: What if Friday's walk through is terrible?***
spacer Re: Dont understand how he can say we're ready with
Sign Up for E-Mail News Alerts
Daily Digest