Sept. 20, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – Video of Head Coach ClemsonTigers.com via TigerCast on Tuesday, September 20. 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 – September 20, 11:00 AM
Swinney Press Conference Transcript
Opening Statement: “The goal is to try to win every game. You don’t plan to lose any games. I’m proud of our team for being 3-0, but this is an important week. We get into ACC play on Saturday and that’s really what it’s all about. Our next goal is to win the division, and in order for us to do that, we have to keep improving. We have to stay committed to our standard that we’ve set and our process of preparation.
“We have to keep getting better. We’ve yet to play our best game and I think that’s what it’s going to take to beat Florida State. They’re a top 10 team. They played Oklahoma hard and battled.
“They’re a pro-style attack, offensively. They have outstanding skill and we’re going to have to be on our A game. They’ll screen us and we’ll see some option; we’re just preparing for everything.
“I expect E.J. Manuel to play, but they’ve proved they can win with whoever’s under center. Clint Trickett played very well Saturday night against Oklahoma. We’re just going to have to play our game. We have to do a better job getting off the field and eliminating big plays.
“Their defense is very good. They create a lot of tackles for loss. This is a big challenge for us offensively; the biggest we’ve had. Their defensive line is typical Florida State. Their linebackers are big, and they can all run. They’re a very active defense. Their secondary is very experienced. Their corners and safeties are all returners, with the exception of Lamarcus Joyner.
“They’re just a typical Florida State team in every regard. Special teams could be the difference in the game in a situation like this. That’s what happened last year. They whipped us in special teams. We’re going to have to have a great week on special teams.
“Their returners are dangerous and field position will be critical in this game. We’re excited about another opportunity. I’m proud of our guys focusing one day at a time.
“I’m also so proud of our fans. I can’t thank them enough for the way they showed up against Auburn. Starting with Tiger Walk, all the way to the end, the fans were the difference in the ballgame.
On in-game adjustments: “Our objective is to get better as the game goes. You go into a game with a plan, but you don’t really know what the personality of the other team is until you get out there. We have to look at what they’re doing and change what we’re doing. We’ve played better as we’ve gone through the games.
“We’ve made some defensive mistakes in the first half that have put us in a hole in a couple of games. We have to give credit to the players because they’ve had the mental toughness to keep going and see what the score is at the end of the game. That’s one of our commands – keep playing.”
On Tajh Boyd: “Tajh (Boyd) is doing a great job; he’s playing well. He’s been outstanding. I couldn’t be more proud to see where he is mentally and physically. He’s a quarterback. I’m most proud of his leadership because he’s making everyone around him better. He loves to play. If he keeps playing like he’s been playing, we’re going to be a tough team.
“He has to do more decision making after the snap than before, and he’s doing a great job. He understands his protection and has made some really good throws. We practice with the same tempo that we see in the game. Tajh (Boyd) has proven he can run with the ball, he’s a good decision maker, he’s made some plays off of some scrambles; he’s a guy who they have to talk about when they defend us. He’s definitely a duel weapon.”
On chemistry between Tajh Boyd and wide receivers: “There were four or five plays where we had guys on the same page in a way that I hadn’t seen in a game yet. We had some big plays in that game that were a result in that kind of chemistry.
On Sammy Watkins: “If he stays like he is, he’ll be just fine. He’s just going to get better. He’s still learning, but he gets it. He understands defense. He’s incredibly coachable. He has a burning desire to learn. He’s very humble. He works as hard as any guy on the field. He takes notes in meetings and goes back and studies. He’s a focused guy. He has the whole package.
“I don’t know of a deficiency. I’d like to say he needs to get physically stronger, but his size isn’t a weakness. He can fly. He’s got great hands. He’s got great work ethic. He can continue to improve without the ball, and that’s just being a young player.
“As far as the skill set of the position, he has everything you want in a receiver. Auburn’s defense tried some matchup stuff and our guy was better. They played zone and we found soft spots in the zone. They missed some tackles when they had a chance to tackle him. He’s a tough guy to handle.
“If you press him, we’ll take a shot. If you back up off of him, we’ll throw it short. He makes people miss. Part of the reason Sammy (Watkins) is having such great success is because we have a lot of other guys who can make plays for us. A couple of years ago, we were forcing some things because we had to with C.J. (Spiller) and Jacoby (Ford), but this year we do not have to force anything. We have plenty of guys to spread the ball around to.”
On potentially winning Atlantic Division: “Auburn was the national champion until someone beat them. We had our shot and it worked out. It’s the same with Florida State. They’re the Atlantic division champions until someone beats them. They have the belt. They’ll have it until someone knocks them out.
“This is a big game. It’s not the whole season – if we win, we have to keep playing. Every game counts in conference play. The conference isn’t decided until the end of the season. But, the winner of this game has their hands on the steering wheel. From a big picture standpoint, this is a big game. We have to beat them no matter when we play them.”
On handling success: “This team has done a great job of focusing. Our older guys have done a great job of leading. The Auburn game is over. These guys have bigger goals. The fun is in the winning, but they came in at 6:30 Monday morning and they were ready to go. We made a lot of mistakes on both sides of the ball on Saturday. We haven’t come close to playing our best game. Florida State is a very talented football team and it wasn’t hard for our guys to refocus.”
On freshmen: “D.J. (Howard) can be very good. He can fly. All these freshmen that we’ve signed – you’re going to have people saying “Who is he?” by the end of the year. It’s just a matter of getting them an opportunity at some point.”
On Brandon Thomas: “He had a great week of practice last week. He prepared well and he was thrown into a situation where he played 89 snaps and he played very well. He got better as the game went and you can just see his confidence growing. We have to create depth in our line. David Smith was back out there last night, as was Mason Cloy, which was good to see.”
On play of defense: “Statistics don’t tell the whole tale. We’ve done some good things on defense. The part that’s killing us is the big plays. Wofford had two pass completions the whole game, but for 127 yards. This week, Auburn had two runs for about 100 yards. When you’re giving up chunk plays, your stats aren’t going to be good.
“If you take out the five or six big plays, our defense has played pretty good. Our guys up front are doing a great job. We haven’t tackled great. We’re just messing up on some fundamental stuff that we have to grow out of. When all is said and done, this is going to be a good defense.
“Bottom line – we’ve won. We’ve done well offensively, but we’re not happy with everything there either. The thing I like about this team is that we’re playing as a team. Special teams has been solid. Everything is working together and that’s what it’s all about.”
On Florida State offense: “They’re a pro style offense and we haven’t seen that yet. That’s the nature of college football – everyone has a different offense. There are huge differences every week. We’re in our fourth game and we’ve yet to see a pro style attack; we’ve seen everything else. We really haven’t played traditional base defense yet.
“We’ve had to install backwards. Usually you start with base defense and go from there, but we’ve had to do that in reverse. We think we know what we’re doing but we haven’t played it yet. I would expect the freshmen guys to see more playing time in base defense. Against Auburn, we didn’t play a lot of guys. We only had 9 defensive snaps in the fourth quarter.”
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