WATCH: Dabo Swinney's postgame press conference for Syracuse
|Sunday, September 15, 2019, 12:41 AM- -|
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney talked out his team's impressive 41-6 road win over Syracuse on Saturday night.
"Super proud of our guys, Swinney said during his postgame press conference. "Anytime you win, it's a great thing but to go on the road and win and in the division, that's a huge next step for us. I'm just really proud of our guys."
“I’m super proud of our guys, I mean anytime you win it’s a great thing, but to go on the road and win, especially a division road win, that’s a huge next step for us. I’m just really proud of our guys. We’re very much a work in progress. It’s a four-quarter game for a reason. I thought Syracuse played hard and tough like I knew they would in the first half, and then we kind of got control of the game in the third quarter and then finished well. There’s so much we can improve on. Like I said, we’re still a work in progress but this is a big, big win for us. A huge win. It starts with our defense, I thought they were just amazing. I mean, the goal line stands. They get a pick, we go back and get a pick. We had two goal-line stands, we had eight sacks, and I think we had the most tackles for loss since I’ve been a head coach. I’m just really proud of the defense and how they responded. Obviously, there were a couple of chances where they could have gained some momentum but our defense kind of stuffed it out. I’m just really proud of our guys, they had 187 total yards to our 412 so that’s a huge difference right there and just shout out to those guys. I can’t say enough about them, I mean they had a couple of plays on us but for the most part we were well positioned, we talked well and we pressured the quarterback all night. This was great experience for us, great experience for our offense to come into this environment. I think this was like the third largest crowd they’ve had here, so it was an awesome environment and just really good experience for us to come in here and really be challenged and have to respond, and I thought we did. I thought Trevor [Lawrence] did some good things, he had a career-high 397 yards passing and we ended up with 221 yards rushing and no sacks. Zero sacks, so I’m really proud of that. We just missed a bunch of plays, too, I mean really there were just a bunch of plays out there where we would get it, have a penalty, maybe make a good throw, but you look up at the end of the day and we had 412 yards. Tee Higgins had seven catches for 150 yards, I can’t say enough about Amari [Rodgers] who had four catches for 121 yards. We’re going to attack from goal-line to goal-line, so to throw a little screen out there and see him go 85 yards is just incredible, especially coming off ACL reconstruction. So, I’m just really proud of him and it was good to see Chez [Mellusi] out there at the end. We got those young guys in, we played 71 guys and we brought 72 out here. Other than that, just a huge win for us. It was good to see B.T. [Potter] knock down a couple, we had a high snap on the third one so I thought he kicked the ball well. There were lots of positives, and then our fans. It’s hard to tell but we had so much Orange out there. We had a tremendous group of fans that made the trip for this game so we really appreciate their efforts to come and support us and all of the energy that they provide. Huge win for us and I’m excited to get back to the Valley next week.”
What’d you think of how Mario [Goodrich] played?
“Yeah, I think he played excellent. [Derion Kendrick]’s back kept locking up on him and Mario did a great job. Ya’ll have heard me talk about him many times and I’ve been encouraged about what we’ve seen out of him all through camp, so it’s great to have a little success and that’s going to be huge for him and his confidence. To be able to make a play like that in that moment, that’s huge for him and he’s going to continue to get better.”
When you saw Travis take that knee to the helmet in the first quarter, were you thinking, ‘Here we go again, losing another major player against Syracuse?
“No, I wasn’t thinking that. I was just wondering if he was alright. He was fine and I wasn’t thinking that.”
What was it like when you saw your defense creating so much havoc?
“It all starts up front. We lost a lot of players but we’ve still got some guys in here that can play football. As I’ve said, our strength is in numbers up front right now. We play a lot of guys up there and a lot of guys are doing a good job. Logan Rudolph got out there and made a couple of plays and was just relentless. Justin Foster and K.J. Henry were showing up and making plays. All of those guys got in and they’re just going to get better. They’re growing and maturing and they’ve accepted the challenge. It’s really being driven by the leadership on the back seven. Those guys have been phenomenal with providing the leadership and discipline. We’re very seldom out of position and that’s a credit to what those guys are doing on the back end. Those guys up front are able to kind of play free and know that they got help in the back end.”