Tigers get ready for Ga. Tech, Swinney talks about conservative playcalling

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Dabo Swinney Sunday Teleconference (MP3 Format)

CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney admitted on Sunday that following Clemson’s early third quarter touchdown that put them ahead 24-7 on visiting Maryland, the offense went into conservative mode.

Swinney’s comments came during his Sunday afternoon teleconference with the media.

The Clemson defense forced Maryland into a three-and-out on the first drive of the third quarter, and Jaron Brown returned the ensuing punt 46 yards to Terrapin 21-yard line. Six plays later, Andre Ellington punched it into the end zone for a 24-7 lead.

“We're turning the page pretty quickly today trying to stay on track,” Swinney said. “Yesterday was a good team win. We had good contributions at critical times. We grew up a lot with how we came out in the third quarter. After one possession in the third it's a 24-7 game. At that point, you really want to take care of the ball and let your defense take over.

”I'm proud of the guys. [Clemson Sports Information Director] Tim Bourret told me that's the most points we've scored on coach Friedgen's team. Now we're getting them ready for a good Georgia Tech team. I thought the team played really hard. I thought they played together. They were excited for each other. “

This week, the Tigers get ready to face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, a team that beat Clemson twice last season.

"There are still a lot of things we have to work on, but it's better working on those things after a win than after a close loss,” Swinney said. “I just got done with our staff meeting. We know what we have to deal with this week. It's a team that's had our number. We have to get better to beat them."

Swinney said that his team is very familiar with the Jackets, but that doesn’t mean he won’t spend time with the defense this week.

"I try to be around both sides as much as I can,” he said. “I do spend more time with the offense. But this week I'll be over there. I need to be in the loop on what's going on. The biggest thing is this is not overly complicated. It's a matter of being disciplined for four quarters and doing your job. And you have to win your matchups.

“The good news is we've played these guys a bunch. We played them twice last year. We got a lot of guys back with some experience against them. They didn't force a punt and we didn't force a punt last time. Hopefully we can do better this week."

The Clemson offense struggled at times on Saturday, especially in the passing game, and Swinney was asked if drops were still an issue.

"It hurt us with Nuke going out,” he said. “We were just getting some good chemistry. We didn't throw the ball a lot yesterday. We had six drops yesterday, two for touchdowns. We had a chance to blow that game open. The tight end had a couple, a running back had some. We didn't have a receiver with a drop.

“Those are things we have to continue to work through and get in that rhythm that we want to have. It'll come. The biggest thing is that we found a way to win. Our guys found a way to win. To be honest, if we could play them again, we would want to throw the ball more, but up 24-7, we didn't have to throw as much."

Running back Andre Ellington was held to just 41 yards on 16 carries, and Swinney said that was more a factor that Maryland was run-blitzing so much than it was execution by the offense.

"It was a big function of what they were doing, no doubt about that,” he said. “They were really selling out. They do a lot of unusual things. And they had some new wrinkles. The things we practiced against, we did a good job with. We probably should have thrown the ball more, to be honest with you. We had some things open in the pass game, but after we went up 24-7, we got more conservative."

Swinney said there were no new injuries to report, and everyone should be healthy for the Yellow Jackets. Clemson opened as a 3.5 point favorite.

(As Of October 17)
School		Conference	Pct.	Overall	Pct.
Florida State		4-0	1.000	6-1	.857
NC State		2-1	.667	5-2	.714
Maryland		1-1	.500	4-2	.667
Clemson			1-2	.333	3-3	.500
Wake Forest		1-3	.250	2-5	.286
Boston College		0-3	.000	2-4	.333

School		Conference	Pct.	Overall	Pct.
Virginia Tech		3-0	1.000	5-2	.714
Georgia Tech		3-1	.750	5-2	.714
Miami			2-1	.667	4-2	.667
North Carolina		2-1	.667	4-2	.667
Virginia		0-3	.000	2-4	.333
Duke			0-3	.000	1-5	.167

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