Swinney, Spaziani press conference quotes

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Dabo Swinney Photo
Position: Head Coach

Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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Opening statement:
“Boston College is a a big challenge for us, especially coming off of a disappointing loss. Everybody knows we’ve only won up there (at Alumni Stadium) one time. We’ve had a lot of opportunities to win up there, and the one time we won was a wild one (27-21 in 2008).

“This is a team that’s had an open date. I don’t have any doubt we’ll get the best they’ve got. The big thing is that I want to see our team respond like we can. I want to see us respond kind of the opposite of how we did coming off the Auburn game. That was an opening game, an emotional win in a great environment.

A lot of people thought we might have a letdown the next week, but we really came out, took care of business, and started fast against Ball State and started fast against Furman. This is kind of the opposite of that.

“We’re coming off of a difficult loss, so I want to see us respond and get back to work and play like I know we’re capable. That’s the big thing.

“I’m looking forward to this week. I’m very impressed with their offense. If you’ve followed Boston College over the past few years, you’ll notice this is not your typical Boston College. It’s been a long time since you look up and they’re leading the league in passing.

“ The quarterback is leading the league in total offense. They have really changed and are doing a great job. Their quarterback has got a big arm, is efficient, and knows the offense. He really understands what they’re trying to do. It’s tied together nicely with their quick game, their screens and their play actions.
“They mix their drops up. They’re under center, they’re in the gun, they run some boots. They just do a really good job. They run lead draw and zone to keep you off balance. They’re really well-coached.

“ They have typical guys up front, 6’7” kinds of guys. Their running backs are a couple of pounders. The one thing they do a great job of is getting the ball to the backs, checking down to them a lot in the flats and over the center area. They’ll check them to the line of scrimmage off the lead draw fake.

“That’s a challenge because you’ve really got to be disciplined with your eyes there. They’ve got a receiver that’s leading the league in Alex Amidon. He’s all over the place. They get him the ball in a lot of different ways. They screen it to him, they throw a lot of play-action to him, they throw a lot of quick game to him, a lot of posts and slants. He’s a very good football player, so we’ll have to do a really good job on him.

“They’ve got a guy on the other side of him in Johnathan Coleman who’s about 6’4” or 6’5”, who’s a very, very good player as well and is dangerous from a matchup standpoint because of his size. The other thing that’s different about them is that they’re a tempo team.

“ If you watched their first game against Miami, there were so many times in that game that Miami was not even lined up and they’re snapping the ball. That’s very different from the way Boston College has been in the past.

“Defensively, not much has changed. It’s typical BC. They’re a true base 4-3. There’s very little change in personnel. They line up and do what they do. They know exactly where they’re supposed to be. They do a great job of recognition. I think one of their ends is 6’8” (Brian Mihalik). They get their hands on a lot of balls and bat down a lot of balls. It’s a big zone pressure team.

“Boston College usually has somebody leading the league in tackles. Kuechly is gone, thank goodness. Just as soon as you say that, instead of him leading the league, they’ve got three guys leading the league now. Nothing much has changed from that standpoint. All three of their backers are 1, 2, and 4 in the league in tackles.

“That’s kind of how they’re built, that’s how they’re structured, and they do know what they’re doing and do a great job executing. They’re number one in field goals and number three in punting. This is a solid team. They’re 1-2 with two tough losses to Miami (FL) and Northwestern.

“They’ve had an open date. This is a big challenge. This is as big a week as we’ll have all year. I want to see our team respond like a champion and pick ourselves up and go play our best game and see if we can get our football team better this week and find a way to win on the road.

“Also, today is Tajh’s birthday. So, a shoutout to Tajh Boyd on his birthday. Also, we’re wearing the Coaches for the Cure patches on our sleeves this week. It’s great to be able to participate in that cause as well.”

On Tajh calling a team meeting on Monday:
“I think it’s great. Tajh isn’t just the quarterback, he’s the leader. That’s what you want to see. I was kind of anxious to see yesterday how these guys would respond. We do have a lot of guys who are in their roles for the first time, so I was anxious to see. I really liked the look in their eyes. They weren’t happy. They were disappointed.

“We watched the tape yesterday morning and came back yesterday afternoon. We had a little ‘here’s what happened’ video. Here are the facts and let’s all make sure we understand. Let’s go improve, let’s get better. We’re the same team that had a really team on the road down by 14 and didn’t finish it. Those guys are still here.

“We know we’re capable of being a good football team. That was one game and a tough loss, but we have a long way to go. We have so much in front of us. We have so much opportunity to go have a very, very good season. We’re just in September. Hopefully, when all this is said and done in November, we’ll look back and see a lot of growth from our team over these next few weeks because we’re certainly got to have it.

“We’re not a great team right now. I really think we have a chance to improve in a lot of areas. I like the way they responded yesterday. That is a good sign, when you see the hurt in their eyes. They care. Nobody hurts more than the players. They’re completely invested. They’re the ones putting in all the work and the time, so much time that people don’t ever see. It’s disappointing when it doesn’t go your way.

“ It’s all a part of the process of learning and maturing and trying to be a good team. You have to respond to everything. That crazy situation last night, I didn’t see it until this morning, from the Monday Night game. It’s a long season. The Packers have to respond. It’s that simple. They’ve got a game next week, so they have to move on. It’s disappointing, but you have to move on.”

On the reason for the missed tackles:
“Mostly, it’s not wrapping up. We had one in particular where Brewer absolutely unloaded on a guy. It was a clinic. But he didn’t wrap up. He literally ran through the guy. That’s a big, strong back (Wilder), so that’s tough to do. He absorbed the blow. It’s just like Andre Ellington. You’d better wrap up on him. The same thing happened in the Auburn game. They didn’t wrap up. They had some good blows on Andre.

“You’re not just going to knock good backs down. You have to wrap those guys up and get their legs. That’s the engine. There was too much of that. We tackled really well in the Auburn game. There was a lot of speed on the field and a lot of athleticism. You don’t want to take anything away from Florida State. They were very talented and deep in a couple positions, but we did not tackle well at all.”

On what the expectation for Clemson’s defense should be:
“That question’s been asked before. I don’t know the answer to that. All I know is that you have a job to do when you’re on the field. We haven’t played too many snaps defensively, at all. I just don’t think there’s enough to warrant an answer to that. We want to control the ball, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that this year.

The defense has played 60-70 snaps a game, so it’s not like we’re out there playing 90 snaps on defense. It’s not that far off from what it should be. When you go up by a touchdown, you have all the momentum.

“Everybody has a job to do. I think it’s a problem when you’re three and out, three and out, three and out. We have really not been that this year. We have monitored that. We’ve been pretty efficient offensively. Even if we don’t score, we get first downs.

That’s something we studied last year. When we got a first down, we scored 62 percent of the time (67 percent so far this year). That’s a huge part of what we’re trying to do. Part of my message to the team yesterday was that we had a chance to finish the game on defense, on special teams, and on offense.

“There’s no pointing fingers. Everybody had a chance to finish the game in the fourth quarter and nobody stepped up and got it done. We had opportunities. They had the long touchdown run on the little shovel pass, the speed sweep there, that cut it to seven.

“The offense comes right back and kicks a field goal and puts us up 10. We really felt like we were in control of the game, and then, here’s a 90-yard kickoff return. So special teams had an opportunity to really close the door and create field position.

“You can’t give a team like that, on the road, that kind of firepower. Now, all of a sudden, the place comes alive and it’s tough. You give up a touchdown there, but now we’re still up three.

“So what did the offense do? Well, you’d like to see us go out there and answer, but we went three and out. We got into third-and-nine and had a great call. We just didn’t execute the play. We thought we had a great matchup with Sammy.. We just didn’t make the play, so you punt the ball.

That’s where it’s a problem. If you have a tempo offense that’s three and out, three and out, and you’re constantly putting the defense back out onto the field, then you can have some issues.

“But for the most part, we’ve had a pretty good, efficient offense—getting first downs, putting drives together. The other night, we had that lull.

On the plans for Hall, Meeks, and Brewer at safety:
“I think you’ll continue to see a combination of all three of those guys. Meeks has been our most consistent player. He’s really done a nice job. I’m pleased with how he has performed. They’ve all had good moments, but they’ve all had bad moments too. But I think you’ll continue to see all of those guys working at that position.”

Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani

What is the status of (injured wide receiver) Bobby Swigert?
Bobby has been cleared to practice. In terms of where he is at and the rust he may have is something we will have to deal with this week.

Is there a way to prepare for Clemson’s speed?
The pace of the game that Clemson brings is something we practiced for going into Northwestern. As far as their physical speed goes, it’s just a matter of emphasizing certain things we need to do and reacting to it fast enough out on the field.

Have you found any solutions to the running game?
There is no question we have an issue there; we are looking to resolve it. That’s the most I can say about it right now, we are doing everything physically to improve on that situation. A couple of the backs have responded so far and we need that to continue.

After taking a look back at the first three games, what can you do as a coaching staff to improve on things?
As a coaching staff we can always tweak our X’s and O’s and try to put ourselves in the best position to succeed. Personnel groupings and how we scout ourselves are some of the things we can tweak. Fundamentally we can be sounder, making sure we are optimizing formations, personnel, and play calling. After that you just assess everything. We are a 1-2 football team and are close, but close isn’t good enough.

How do you assess the offensive line? The pass blocking has been good but the run blocking looks like it needs improvement.
When you rush the ball for whatever we rushed for, it’s a fact of the matter. It’s a combination of things, the run blocking and the backs seeing the holes. We need to run the ball better and we are working on it.

Are there any freshman you see who are ready to step up?
Those guys are our waiver wire, we are always looking for guys we can count on to be put into a situation and help us make plays. There are some younger guys we are going to ask to do more out there, which we believe they can.

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