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Swinney’s Tuesday Press Conference

Swinney’s Tuesday Press Conference

Opening Statement:

“I want to congratulate our team once again. I’m really proud of our guys for winning back-to-back road games. This has been a tough stretch. We had a clean game down there in Miami and then a hard fought game up at NC State where we had momentum swings and were able to finish the game in strong fashion. We’re glad to be home and excited about being in front of our home crowd this week. Obviously, we all know Clemson and Florida State is always a big game. For us, it’s the biggest game because it’s the next game. But some games always have a little extra juice to them. This was one has been huge for both teams for many years. We’re looking forward to competing. Florida State is the same old same old. They’re well coached. They have fast dudes all over the place. They know what they’re doing.”

“Defensively, they are very talented up front. They’ve got some young guys who have gotten better as the year has gone on. They’re outstanding in the secondary. Offensively, they have a big, strong offensive line. You all know how I feel about Dalvin Cook. He’s an amazing player. He leads this league in all purpose yards and scoring. They do a great job of involving him in the passing game. #9 is a different guy, he’s big and strong and an outstanding back. They have really, really good football players and they have some really talented freshmen that they’ve mixed in there as well. They always do a good job with their tight ends. They don’t really do anything different when different quarterbacks are in. Both of those guys are capable of running their offense. Obviously, [Sean] McGuire beat us last year and [Everett] Golson has had a heck of a year for them this year. He’s second in the league in passing. Their kicker has been there for going on eight years. He’s an amazing talent and has been a great weapon for them. This is a team we play every year and we know a lot about them. We recruit a lot of the same guys and our guys know a lot about them. We have great respect for Florida State. They have been the best in our league the last few years. They have been a great representative for our league in the last few years. We need to find a way to beat these guys and that’s easier said than done. There haven’t been many guys who can do that. We will have our opportunities and we will have to find a way to finish if we’re going to beat them. We look forward to getting after it at 3:30 on Saturday.”

On the college football rankings:

“I don’t care. Not unless they will give me an exemption. That would be a great idea. You get two mulligans if you are in the top-4 in the first poll. Unless they do something like that, then I really don’t care. It’s just so irrelevant. I know it’s great for college football, but it just has nothing to do with us. We’re excited because we’ve had a great season. That’s what we’re excited about. The only poll we’re excited about is December 6th. I promise you we will have the biggest poll party you’ve ever seen. We’ll open up Death Valley and serve pizza to everybody on December 6th. That will be a time to celebrate a poll. Until then, it just doesn’t matter. Our focus in on trying to beat Florida State.”

On last year’s loss to Florida State:

“They’re all tough. That was one of the toughest. 2010 was tough too, we led the entire game. I could go on and on. Those things stick out in your mind, when you lose games. The wins pile up and you enjoy all of them but those losses stick out. That’s life. You have good days and you have bad days. Football teaches you how to respond in life. You can mope and pout or you can doing something about it and respond. Life’s about how you respond to what happens.”

On the maturation of Tony Elliott as a play caller:

“He’s done a great job. Tony gets all the credit but Jeff Scott calls a ton of plays too. It’s collaboration. Tony has to manage it from up top but we have a true co-coordinator situation here. Both of those guys have been tremendous and done a great job.”

On Clemson recruiting Dalvin Cook:

“We didn’t almost sign him. He just dated us for a little while when kicked us to the curb. He’s a great player and great guy. We didn’t really get past first base with him. He came here, liked it, decided he wanted to come and then changed his mind. He’s where he needs to be. What a player, I have great respect for him. His diversity is special. He’s a competitor.”

On the play of Wayne Gallman:

“He’s become a complete player. He’s big, strong and physical. He’s been able to enhance his talents. He’s learned how to play the position. It’s been a process for him. He was a linebacker and a wing back in high school so he had to transition. Now, he’s become a complete player. He’s highly driven to be successful. He’s driven to gain a yard. He’s very smart and works hard in his preparation. He’s the most complete guy we have.”

On losing because three or four plays:

“That happens all the time when two good teams play each other. It’s just a few plays. I’ve also had some great wins that the same thing has happened. That’s why we tell our guys, you have to play every play like it’s the play. That’s the reality of it. I can count six plays from last year and we’re probably in the College Football Playoff.”

On last year’s game vs. Florida State:

“We need to focus on this team. We have a whole different offensive line. That was Deshaun [Watson}’s first game where he really took over. Mike [Williams] barely played, [Jordan] Leggett didn’t play, C.J. Davidson was our starting back at the time. We’re a different team now.”

On if he’s had a deeper receiving corps than this year’s:

“Yeah. We’ve had some really good guys come through here. We have a bunch of them playing on the next level that were all here at one time.”

On the extra excitement attached to this game:

“Every game is huge for us. I know I say that every week and sometimes people think we’re going to coast through some games. Every game is the Super Bowl every single week. But as you go through the season, the margin for error gets smaller. We don’t have to play Florida State to get excited about playing a game. And our fans don’t either. We sell out Wofford and App State. So let’s just get excited about playing. But am I pumped about being 8-0? Heck yeah. But if we were 4-4, I’d be just as excited about playing this week.”

On changing anything on special teams:

“It’s just execution. We’ve done a really nice job outside of that one kick at Louisville. [Ammon] Lakip has been tremendous; he’s had a bunch of touchbacks. Covering a kick is not rocket science. On the kick return at NC State, we just had some poor effort and we have addressed that. That particular play was very disappointing. We didn’t play with the effort that we demand and expect. It was something we addressed yesterday. The second one, that’s coaching and that’s on us. We didn’t prepare out guys for the pitch. But outside of that, we did a heck of a job. We got it corrected on the field. The extra point, we had penetration inside and that was fundamental. The second one, [Greg] Huegel just kicked it low. That’s football. It’s not always going to be perfect. We overcame it and I’m proud of our team for that.”

On preparing for both of Florida State’s quarterbacks:

“They’re not going to do anything different in their offense. They’re going to run the same concepts. So, we will prepare for what they do. It was different getting ready for Louisville because they were very different. But Florida State will be who they are. They’ve got a Florida State offense and they run it regardless.”

On the play of Deshaun Watson:

“He’s a great preparer. He can beat you with his arm, legs, mind and heart. That’s what makes his special. There’s a lot of talented quarterbacks out there but I don’t think there are many with the aptitude and work ethic that he has. He’s poised. He’s very confident but that comes from how he prepares. He takes great pride in his performance. Coach Streeter grades him really tough and has done a great job with all those guys. He [Deshaun Watson] takes pride in the little things. It’s like having a tenth coach on your staff. He’s like a player coach. Dealing with him as a freshman, it was like talking to a senior. Now that he’s played 13 games, he’s gotten better and better. He knows that his success comes from his attention to detail.”

On if he’s seen Deshaun Watson flustered:

“No. Not really.”

On the ACC reviewing calls:

“We turn in calls after each game that we have a problem with and they give us the feedback. We turned in several after this past game and they agreed with us on most of them. That’s just part of the transparency. You’re dealing with people so there’s human error. They’re trying to have some accountability in place. Everybody makes mistakes.”

On the Miami/Duke ending and how the conference handled it:

“They probably did what they had to do. They took ownership of it. You hate to see a game come down to that. They’re trying to have some accountability in place. It is just part of the game. You hate to see it. At the end of the day, you have to move on.”

On the effect Terry Allen has had on the running game:

“Terry has been a great addition. It’s been fun having him around. We have a great group of students that are helping us. Terry has been great for our young guys. He’s developed relationships with each one of them. Those guys have great respect for him. He’s had as much fun as anybody.”

On nervousness going into big games:

“We were third in the country two years ago. I don’t every remember us being nervous going into a game. Our guys prepare each and every week. Unfortunately, we’ve lost a game or two over the last several years but it has not been because we were nervous.”

On the last time Clemson was 8-0 in 2011:

“We didn’t handle the success well that year. We’ve had a lot of success since that season. We’ve been able to establish our culture. In 2011, we were just kind of getting going. We had 42 freshmen that year and our veterans had not been there before. We just didn’t handle the success or adversity well that year. Last year, we had a really bad finish in Tallahassee and then we won 17 out of 18. So we handled that adversity. Then we beat South Carolina and handled the success by winning the bowl game. In 2011, we just weren’t quite there yet. We have a different DNA now.”

On Artavis Scott being limited vs. NC State:

“He was limited but he still had a heck of a game. We actually put him in at the end of the game to return a kick. He will be ready to roll on Saturday.”

On the weather expected for Saturday:

“We just don’t worry about it.”