Oct. 25, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – Video of Head Coach ClemsonTigers.com via TigerCast on Tuesday, October 25. The press conference will begin at 11:00 a.m.
Coach Swinney’s weekly press conference will be broadcast live on TigerCast each week throughout the 2011 season.
Click on the link below to watch the press conference on TigerCast:
Swinney Press Conference – October 25, 11:00 AM
Swinney Press Conference Transcript
Opening Statement: “We are looking forward to another big challenge this Saturday night. This is a rivalry game, a game where you can throw out everything else and just get excited about the game. This is an especially tough game on the road. We know what to expect with Georgia Tech and they probably know what to expect with us.
“Everyone is pretty familiar with their offense. They’re a typical Georgia Tech team. They lead the nation in third-down offense and they are fifth in rush. But they’ve thrown the ball a little more this year. The big plays are a concern. They’ve had eight one-play touchdown drives. They’ve had four pass plays of 70+ yards and 14 touchdowns of 20 yards or more.
“If you allow them to have a lot of big plays, it’s not usually a good day for the opponent. We have to do a great job of being disciplined. Our guys have to play with their eyes and do their jobs. The big plays are the things we have to minimize.
“They have good players. Orwin Smith is very explosive and averages 12 yards a carry and just about everyone else is over 5.0 yards a rush. We have a big challenge there. We have to win at the line of scrimmage. Everyone has to do their job and tackle well. Their defense is very impressive.
“[Defensive coordinator] Al Groh has done a great job. They’re leading the league in total defense in ACC games. They’re very stout and don’t give up a lot of big plays. I’ve been very impressed with these guys and the improvement they’ve made.
“This week, it’s about us and having a good week of preparation. Today and tomorrow are critical days. We have to have good looks from the scout team to make sure we get our guys prepared for what they’re going to see. We have to execute our plan to win.
“We’ve done a good job of playing with great effort and we are doing well at creating turnovers. We’ve out “big played” the opponents so far. We’ve been one of the least penalized teams in the country and we’ve done great things in special teams. We have to continue to focus on those things and get them ready.”
On offensive coordinator Chad Morris’ presence on the sidelines: “He has good energy on the sidelines. I like being able to go and talk to him face-to-face. I think it’s great with a young quarterback to have him on the sidelines. Coach [Danny] Pearman has done a great job up in the box for us. He’s the “eye in the sky.”
On Wofford’s offense vs Georgia Tech’s offense: “Wofford runs the triple option probably 20-25 plays in a game. But, they do a lot of stuff with their offense; they’re everywhere. Seeing that offense helped us get a little exposure to the triple option and that should be beneficial for this game.
“We have to tell our guys to forget everything we’ve taught them. This is one game within the season that’s totally different. We always take a couple of days in spring and fall camp to work with these guys on seeing this offense. We try to expose our players to things, in camp, that they’re going to see during the season. You don’t have your normal defensive calls, etc. It’s just totally different. It’s assignment football and it’s a game plan for this opponent. Once this game is over, you can get back to what your base defense is.”
On last week’s Miami vs. Georgia Tech matchup: “Miami did a good job at the line of scrimmage. Schematically, Georgia Tech is different, but overall, the game of football is the same. You have to tackle; you have to win the game at the line of scrimmage. That’s what Miami did last week.”
On Georgia Tech’s defense: “They’re playing their scheme very well. It takes a little while to learn a new scheme, but they’ve improved. They’re hard to move and they don’t give up a lot of big plays. Their linebackers are rarely out of place and they tackle well. It’s a typical Al Groh-type of defense. They’re a very good pass defense. They’re giving up some things in the running game and making you patient. People have attacked them running the ball, but Georgia Tech still hasn’t given up a lot of points.
On Georgia Tech’s passing game: “First thing we have to do is stop the run. They’ve had big plays because they can run the football. This is a talented group of players. Stephen Hill can fly. Orwin Smith is their top rusher and second leading receiver. You have to be disciplined every play. You can’t get lulled to sleep. Everyone has to do their job, every play. You have to play till the whistle blows. If a guy makes a great play, it’s a great play. We don’t want them to make a great play because we busted. We have to stay focused.”
On Clemson offense: “We have to take care of the football. We’ve been a big play team, but we have to be patient on Saturday. We expect a high level of execution. Every play is designed to score. We expect a high level of execution. We don’t go into a game saying, ‘We’re going to score this many’.
“We want guys to play hard and play with tempo. We’re a better second half team because we wear people down by the end of the game. This is probably the best offense I’ve been a part of from a third-down standpoint. These guys never think they’re out of it. They all play hard because they know the ball is going anywhere.
“We have a pretty special quarterback that’s playing with a lot of confidence. Our guys know that we’re going to put a lot of pressure on defenses because of who’s on the field. A lot of credit needs to go to our offensive line. They make these plays happen by providing opportunities for guys to make plays.”
On national exposure: “I love being 8-0; I’d rather be 8-0 than 4-4. It’s great for Clemson. It’s great for the Clemson brand and our program, but it has nothing to do with beating Georgia Tech. We have a division championship, a state championship and an ACC championship left to cross off our list. We have to accomplish all of that first before we can talk about the BCS. Our guys really understand that. We’re just trying to beat Georgia Tech and get to 9-0.”
On defending Sammy Watkins: “He’s all over the place. We have a lot of other good players and that opens up opportunities for him. He had a pretty good game on Saturday. If we hadn’t missed on two plays, he’d have 75 yards more and two more touchdowns. The key to our success is that we have a lot of players on the field and they’re all involved, even the backups. We don’t have to worry about who’s in the game, we just call the play. If they want to bracket Sammy [Watkins], then we’ll go to DeAndre Hopkins, Jaron Brown, Dwayne Allen, etc.”
On status of Andre Ellington: “I’m anxious to see him at practice today. He didn’t take any reps yesterday. His ankle swelled on Sunday and that was the biggest deal. It’s kind of a day-to-day thing. He’s going to be limited today and we’re hopeful that by tomorrow he’ll be ready to go. We have a long time to get him ready since we’re not playing until 8:00 Saturday night. We want to get him ready to go.”
On Brandon Thomas: “He’s done very well. The week he got thrown in was the week that I challenged him to grow up and play (Auburn week). He was a guy that wasn’t fully committed. This team needed him. He had a lot of talent. Talent is potential and skill is developed.
“He had all the ability, but wasn’t excited about being a great player. We tried everything to light a fire under him. Not playing was the big motivating factor for him. He finally realized he had to do what we’ve asked him. He got his opportunity and took advantage of it and he’s done a good job. He hasn’t been as consistent as we want him to be, but he’s made an amazing amount of progress, which is encouraging about our future.”
On Tajh Boyd’s success: “I imagined he was going to have a good year. He has 24 TDs and three picks and is having an All-American year. I didn’t necessarily expect that from him. He’s worked really hard and has a lot of guys around him who have helped him to have a good year. That’s why you work hard. Everything that’s happening for Tajh is further confirmation of why you do the things you do. This guy has worked his tail off to be a better player. He’s a great leader. I’m really happy for him, but I didn’t expect him to be sitting here like this at this point.”
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