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Swinney’s Tuesday Press Conference

Swinney’s Tuesday Press Conference

Opening Statement:

“It’s a great time to be a Tiger. I’m really proud of our men and women’s soccer teams. They’ve done a great job. I’m really proud of our team and how they competed last weekend in a hard fought battle. To be 9-0 for only the third time in the history of this school is really a great accomplishment for these guys. For us, it’s just back on the road heading up to Syracuse. This is a trip that our guys look forward to. That’s one of the neat things about college football is that these guys get to travel and see different parts of the world that they haven’t seen. It’s a great place to play a ball game. It is a good experience. We know we’re going to have to play well. They are 3-2 at home. They’re a tough team and have a tough crowd. They had a close loss to LSU and then a 3-point loss to Pittsburgh at home. We need to continue to do what we do and get our self mentally and physically ready to play our best game of the season. They have had some injuries and we aren’t sure which quarterback is going to play. We are just going to focus on ourselves and try to continue to get better. We haven’t played our best football yet and we’re still a team that’s improving. It’s a huge opportunity for our seniors. If we can find a way to win the game they will have the most ACC wins of any senior groups. We have a chance to get our tenth win for the fifth year in a row. We just need to stay dialed in and keep our lives simple and keep the structure in place. Injury wise, Ray Ray [McCloud] and [Tyrone] Crowder will be out this week but both of them should recover just fine.”

On playing at Syracuse:

“Well we need to manage the noise up there. It is loud because it’s indoors and they are right on top of you. It’s similar to NC State but there’s a roof. So that’s the biggest thing. They are a prideful bunch at home. They haven’t had the type of year that they wanted to have but they have had a ton of injuries and these guys play hard. There is no lack of effort. They present some challenges. Offensively, they have the ability to score. They played Florida State tough for a while. They do a lot of different things. Because of their personnel and injuries, they have done a whole lot of motions and formations. And they have different quarterbacks. #2 is a gamer, he’s a good player. They throw the ball all over the place and they have three great wideouts. You just have to defend a whole lot with these guys.”

On Syracuse’s punt returner:

“He averages almost 19 yards per punt return so he’s a really good player. We need to punt the ball effectively and get our guys down there and leverage the ball and get him on the ground. We have done a nice job of that. We haven’t had many punt return issues. And then #9 is their all-purpose guy. He’s a kick return guy and a receiver. He’s a good player.”

On Buffalo Bills Coach Rex Ryan wearing a Clemson helmet at his press conference today:

“I didn’t know that was going to happen. He’s crazy. He is hilarious. I love Rex Ryan because whether you like him or don’t like him, he is who he is. How you perceive him, that’s how he is. He’s a real guy and he’s passionate about what he does. I’m really happy that they got a big win last week. One of our social media guys was showing me pictures from the Bills’ college practice they had last week. Rex was decked out in Clemson gear and of course all the Clemson guys were decked out in their gear. That was pretty neat. That’s one of the things I’m looking forward to with this trip is I can see some of our former players. We had a ton of guys at the game last week. All the Bills guys will be at our game and it will be neat.”

On Seth Ryan:

“He’s a pretty good wideout too [as well as holder]. He’s smart. He can play any of the three positions. He’s fast and runs well and has great ball skills. He’s been a holder his whole life. He grew in training camps holding. There’s a skill to that and we recognized that quickly. He’s done a great job for us. He’s been a big part of the success we had on special teams. It’s nice to have a guy that we know we will have for a couple more years. And he can play any of the receiver positions. Speaking about special teams, I’ve been waiting all year to name Jim Brown as captain for the Syracuse game. When I said that to the team, I got nothing. Crickets. Is that not sad? That is sad that arguably the greatest running back of all time, they don’t know who he is. That’s unbelievable to me. So that will be neat to see our Jim Brown get to be the captain for the Tigers at Syracuse.”

On his personality rubbing off on the University:

“The fun is in the winning. We go lose and nobody will be dancing. My personality has not rubbed off on our President. We have the best President in America. He’s amazing. His personality has rubbed off on me. He’s one of the most genuine, energetic, and with-it people. He’s just a normal guy. No offense to college presidents but he’s just as normal a guy as you’d ever meet. He is so smart and passionate about what he does. He’s a great fit for Clemson. He needs to work on his dance moves though. We’re going to have to coach him up.”

On the fourth quarter vs. Florida State:

“Well, we were playing hard the whole game. I think we got stronger as the game went and they maybe wore out a little bit. We were able to get control of the trenches. That was the message at halftime. My message was that this game will come down to the trenches in the second half and it did. Championship football comes down to the trenches and having a great quarterback. Our quarterback and the guys in the trenches were phenomenal.”

On concern about depth at the wide receiver position:

“You’re always concerned when you lose good players. Trevion [Thompson] will be back, he was back at practice yesterday. We will be fine.”

On special teams play:

“Everybody just has to do their job. [Greg] Huegel was a walk-on and he’s 12-12 in ACC play. [Hunter] Renfrow was a walk-on and how he’s a starter. [Chandler] Catanzaro was a walk-on. He scored the most points in school history. Whoever the best guy is, will play. [Andy] Teasdall has done a solid job for us. He’s a talented guy that has won the job and does the job.” 

On the athletes affecting change (the situation at Missouri):

“I don’t know enough about the situation there as far as what happened to really have an opinion. All I know about is what we do here. Before anything would become a major crisis, I would like to think I would know about it. We have a lot of transparency built into our program. There are very few things that are bothering guys on the team that don’t get communicated to me through our communication process. There are bigger things than football. Obviously, the situation at Missouri was major and they felt like they needed to make a stand. I would hope that if there were ever some type of issue that was escalating like that, we would be way out in front of it.”

On Artavis Scott and the return game:

“We’re trying to work him back in to full strength. We would prefer to have another guy help take some of the load off of him. We’ve been asking a whole lot of Artavis. He’s played 10 straight games and now Ray Ray {McCloud] is out. We have guys and we just need them to do their job. But Artavis is ready when we need him.”

On his pizza party comments:

“I meant what I said but I forget the power of media and the power of being a highly ranked team. Because of where we are now, everything is magnified. It’s just what popped into my head. There shouldn’t be any celebration of a midseason poll. I was just saying let’s celebrate on December 6 if we’re in that poll. But hey I’m fired up for it. We just need to win the rest of the way and win on the fifth. But I’ll be there and we will have it ready to go.”

On Deshaun Watson’s youth:

“He misses a wide open throw and we go, oh my gosh. Radio guys are saying Deshaun has started slow and missed early throws. We have scored about every opening drive of the season. We only haven’t scored on an opening drive vs. Boston College and Florida State. He’s at 70% completion. We have started fast all yearlong. And a couple of times that we were a little out of rhythm, we got in rhythm. He sets his own standard. He’s got thick skin and he’s very comfortable in who he is. His expectations for himself are way higher than what anyone else has for him.”

On Brent Venables:

“I think that Brent is the best defensive coordinator in the country. Anybody on my staff that has aspirations of being a head coach, I would love that for them. But that’s something that everyone has to evaluate for himself. I’m for all of my staff and I would never want anybody to not have a chance for advancement if they want that.”