Nov. 22, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – Video of Head Coach ClemsonTigers.com via TigerCast on Tuesday, November 22. 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 – November 22, 11:00 AM
Swinney Press Conference Transcript
Opening Statement “This is an exciting week in college football. It’s an exciting week in our state. It’s a huge game. This is one of those rare moments in this series where both teams are ranked and both teams are playing for a 10th win. It’s a big, big, big ball game.
“South Carolina has had another good year. They’ve done it differently than last year, but they’ve done an outstanding job finding ways to win. Stephen Garcia and Marcus Lattimore are both gone, but they’re still finding ways to win. [Quarterback] Connor Shaw is getting better and gaining confidence. [Tailback] Brandon Wilds is a good runner and is getting better every week. They have a lot of weapons outside.
“[Wide receiver] Alshon Jeffery is a great player and you better know where his is every play; same with Ace Sanders, Nick Jones and Damiere Byrd. Bruce Ellington is a guy they like to get involved. They have weapons. It’s going to be a challenge for our defense. We have to make sure we’re sound and not give up big plays.
“Defensively, all of those guys are going to play on Sunday. They’re a talented defense. They’re as good as anyone out there. They’re similar to Florida State and North Carolina as far as athleticism and speed. They have tall, long, lanky guys that come off the edges. They have a good defensive line.
“Their secondary has been there forever and they have a ton of experience. You have to come ready to play. It’s going to be a big challenge for us. Special teams has been a factor in this game in the last few years. We have to do a better job on special teams. They have some good returners and we have to play a lot better in that area.
“Bottom line – we know a lot about them and they know a lot about us. This is a game where you have to take care of the football to give yourself a chance to win. Your players have to play. In championship type games, playmakers make plays.
“Our guys have to do their jobs and execute within the system. You have to take care of the football and give yourself a chance to win the game. We’ve had critical mistakes in this game in the last couple of years, and we can’t do that. This is an exciting week and we can’t wait to get down there and play this football game.
On team’s effort in recent games “If you have 11 turnovers in three games, you don’t have a chance. We have a lot of guys playing great football. We have guys playing their hearts out. But, we haven’t given ourselves a chance to win. We’ve had turnovers, critical penalties, sacks, etc. in the last three weeks.
“The effort is good. It’s unquestioned. Our execution has not been as good. We executed at a high level in the first eight games, but in the last few weeks we haven’t. We’re not a 5-6 football team. We’re a 9-2 football team. We just played poorly in the last few weeks. It further solidifies what you teach. When we execute our plan to win, we’ve won. When we’ve gone against that, we’ve lost.
“We know who we are. We have a great group of young men that value winning more than anything. They put time into preparation and practice. It hurts when you lose. We expected to be 11-0 right now, but we have to get better.
“We can still obtain all of our goals. That’s what our focus has to be on. We have to learn from some adversity and learn from not playing well. We have volumes of video evidence of us doing the right things and that’s what we have to get back to.
On South Carolina forcing turnovers “We have to be who we are and do what we’re coached to do. Everybody has to do their job. It’s not just the guys with the ball; it’s everybody doing their job to protect the football. We were as good as anyone in the country for three quarters of the season. It goes back to execution and doing the little things. We’ve made some critical mistakes on game day, but that’s football.
On success in short yardage runs “It’s high on the list of concerns. It’s little things. It’s very simple things that we’re just not doing. It’s basic as basic can be. We’ve got a few guys that haven’t done their job in critical situations. That’s the biggest frustration. We have to have focus from every player on critical downs. Sometimes you have a bad call, but that’s been the exception. Hopefully we’ll get back on track this week. We’ve been great on third downs, until last week. It’s hard to win when you’re 2-of-14 on third down.
On offensive line “There’s no question that your offensive line is the most technically and physically challenging position on the offensive side of the ball. We’ve had to move some guys around, but we’ve played 11 games. We have no excuses. We have to play better.
“Robbie Caldwell is an outstanding offensive line coach and they’ve done a great job for the most part this year. We had some badly missed assignments against N.C. State that really hurt us. There is some immaturity showing up in this football team. A lot of guys haven’t been in this situation before, but they have to learn to think about football away from here. We’ve been a team that’s had a really good season. Anytime you lose a game, it’s not fun. The fun’s in the winning. The best part of the season is in front of us, not behind us.
On injuries “We’re improving. I’m encouraged by what I saw out of Philip Price on Monday. I’m hopeful that he’s going to be able to play. I didn’t have high expectations coming in to yesterday, but he looked pretty good. We’re going to challenge him today and hopefully go live tomorrow. I’m very encouraged about him. Everyone else should be back. Sammy Watkins will be good to go. We have a whole page full of guys with little injuries, but that’s football after 11 games at this level.
On depth “It’s been an issue for us all year. We’ve had some young guys that have performed well, but have been costly other times. That’s unfortunate but that’s all part of playing freshmen in critical situations.
“At this point, everyone has depth issues. Everyone’s hurt. We’ve been pretty fortunate all year. We’ve been able to keep our core guys healthy. We’re a young football team. We have a lot of guys with hardly any experience, but next year we’re going to have a lot of guys with some experience.
On rivalry experience “You live with this game all year. Everywhere you go you talk about this game. It comes down to focus. You can’t worry about your freshmen that haven’t played in this game before. You can’t let external factors influence you. These guys don’t live in a cave.
“They understand the importance of this game. What’s happened in this game in the past has nothing to do with this weekend. South Carolina has been a good football team in the last few years. They’ve done a great job. It’s not like they’re a I-AA football team. They’re a good team. But so are we. And that’s what makes this game great.
On Head Coach Steve Spurrier “He has done a great job after losing [Stephen] Garcia and [Marcus] Lattimore. They’ve played to their strengths and given themselves a chance to win. They’ve lost two games too, but it’s about getting better. [Steve] Spurrier and I have a very professional relationship. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s 67 years old and I’ve watched him my whole life. I’ve played against his teams. He is one of the winningest coaches in this gameI want to line up and whip his tail on Saturday, but that doesn’t diminish the respect I have for him.
On Andre Ellington “He’s critical. We haven’t given him a real chance (lately). When he’s been involved, we’ve been at our best. This past week, he wasn’t much of a factor ,but we didn’t give him much of a chance to be. He has to be involved if we want to win this thing. He has some improving to do too, but we have to make sure he’s involved.
On South Carolina’s running game “They’re a zone-read team. They run the zone-read from 100 formations. They make you play disciplined football. That quarterback [Connor Shaw] is a real weapon running the football. That’s who they are. We have to be very disciplined in how we defend it. At the end of the day, you have to tackle the back and defend the quarterback. Sometimes they’ll run a quarterback sweep and get five yards. They’ve been patient in operating their offense, and it’s working.
On South Carolina Wide Receiver Bruce Ellington “We’ll have to be prepared for the wildcat. He can run and throw. He’s a talented, dangerous athlete. When he’s on the field, you better know where he is.
On Sammy Watkins “He looked great last night. I think by Saturday he’ll be ready to go. You never really know until you go see him play. Everyone was concerned about Tajh earlier this year, but he was fine. No one believed me until we saw him play. There’s always going to be that speculation out there but I think he’s going to be fine.
On South Carolina defensive line “Our offensive line has to do their job. We have to communicate. You have to get guys targeted. You have to execute your technique, fundamentally. This is about our players playing better than their players. They’re the best defensive line we’ve faced so far, besides North Carolina. South Carolina and North Carolina are two of the best defenses we’ve faced this year. South Carolina is a complete defense.
On Dwayne Allen “He didn’t play well against N.C. State, but he’s played well all year. For us to win, we need our best players to play great. He’s done that. He’s a finalist for the Mackey Award, so he’s had a great year. We’re going to need him to play well in Columbia, and he will. He’s a great leader for us.
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