Swinney says team not lucky: "They know how to win"
|Monday, October 17, 2016, 12:19 PM- -|
CLEMSON - Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney knows his team is fortunate, but he also says he has a team that just knows how to win.
Third-ranked Clemson defeated North Carolina St. 24-17 in overtime last Saturday, and they have this week off before traveling to Florida St. on October 29th. Kickoff in that game is set for 8 p.m. and will be televised on ABC.
Clemson turned it over four times against the Wolfpack and had to survive a missed field goal as time ran out in regulation to beat State, but Swinney told the media on Monday’s teleconference that his team isn’t lucky, they just know to win.
“What a ballgame on Saturday. We enjoyed watching the tape. A lot of good things on tape and obviously some mistakes and things that are very correctable, things we can improve on fundamentally,” Swinney said. “A great win. I'm proud of our never-quit attitude. We were fortunate to win the game with the critical mistakes that we had, but we still won.
"These guys, they know how to win. We're 15-2 in our last 17 games decided by seven points or less. That's special. Most people quit, they pout but these guys never quit playing. They have an absolute belief that they will win. That's pretty dang special. 15-2 ain't getting lucky. That's a mentality. That's toughness. I can't tell you how proud I am of those guys. I appreciate who they are and their will to win. I think we need to focus on the positive here and how these guys have hung in there. “I'm proud of our staff, too. They're a bunch of good people here who believe in each other and believe in what we do and that's special to be a part of.”
Swinney said he was proud of the defense even though State had success running the football.
“Defensively, we only gave up one touchdown. They were able to stay within their game plan despite what was going on with us offensively,” he said. “We had four sacks and eight tackles for loss, along with two interceptions. They ran the ball better than we would have liked for them to. Some areas we will improve on going forward. At the end of the day it's about points and we gave up 10 defensively. Biggest disappointment was the last six minutes of the game and the long drive for the field goal. Christian Wilkins just continues to play very well. It was also good to get Austin Bryant back in there.”
The four turnovers marred what could have been a special day for the offense.
“Offensively it's one of the best games we've had to be honest with you. If you know what you're looking at and what we're asking our guys to do, we had one three-and-out, but we just left a lot of points out there,” Swinney said. “We had four opportunities in the red zone where we got zero points. Three of those were inside of the 5-yard line. That game could have been in hand but we didn't finish. We had three turnovers in the red zone, two inside of the 5-yard line. We had long drives leading up to those opportunities, too. That was disappointing. But again at the end of the day we had just two punts, gave up just a couple of sacks, one of which was on Deshaun (Watson). The turnovers were the major problem. We had some technical things, too, but the rhythm of what we were trying to do, I really liked it. We just had some crazy situations.”
Swinney said the turnovers were the “story of the game.”
“We've got to get some things corrected. We'll go back to work, work on fundamentals, keep swinging. It's about what is front of us,” Swinney said. “At the end of the day we're 7-0, we're in control of our destiny in this division, we have played a tough schedule and that will continue. I'm proud of our guys. Special teams, we had three touchbacks, zero returns, we faked a punt that was executed well, we blocked a field goal, so we were excellent there. But again, the story of the day was turnovers. And we'll get that corrected. That's why we've had a couple of close ballgames. We just need to do a better job of taking care of the ball. I have no doubt we'll get that turned around. We have the makings of being a great team. We just need to execute better in a few areas.”
Players of the game
“Injury-wise, Van Smith had some soreness in his butt area, then Wayne Gallman was really good yesterday and again this morning. We'll hold him out of practice this week as he goes through (concussion) protocol. Everybody else will be in practice this week. We'll get Tremayne Anchrum back in practice today as well.”
Will Adrian Baker play at FSU?
“I don't know. We'll see. I think he's ready to go. Now he's got to get back into the competition and see if he can earn some time.”
The play of Jake Fruhmmorgen
“He played well, just like I thought he would. He bounced back and had a heck of a game. I know it's frustrating sometimes but we had 495 yards and four turnovers. The guys played pretty dang good up front. We threw the ball for 378 yards. We had 75% completion. A lot of positives and Fruhmorgen was one of them. He played a really good game.”
How is Hunter Renfrow?
“He's good. He'll be back in practice today.”
What is your level of concern with Ray-Ray McCloud and the dropped punts?
“We'll go back to work. I believe in Ray-Ray 100 percent. We'll go back to work. We'll continue to roll with him. There are some fundamental things he has to learn from, but the turnover that he had was critical up in Boston. Fortunate that he got back on the ball the other day. We just need to rebuild his confidence this week.”
How do you emphasize ball security before FSU
“Go back to work. We can state the obvious all we want. If it were one thing or one guy, that's one thing. But we've had everything, though. The pick-six was on Deshaun (Watson). It was a poor play. And their guy made a great play. Then we had the fumble where Tyshon (Dye) had a chance to go in there, their guy got it out and made a play. We'll go back and do some fundamental stuff, some of the drill work that we do, points of pressure, etc. That's all we can do. It's one of those cycles that we have been through. We can coach the fundamentals, we continue to log balls in jeopardy, continue to emphasize it which we always do. We've just had a rash of some funky things that are disappointing. At the same time, though, there is a lot of good. It's unfortunate that it's cost us some points. We just need to get back in the batter's box.”