Oct. 4, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – Video of Head Coach ClemsonTigers.com via TigerCast on Tuesday, October 4. 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 4, 11:00 AM
Swinney Press Conference Transcript
Opening Statement: “I’m very proud of our team. I’m really happy that we’re 5-0 at this point in the season, but there’s a lot of work to do. We’re focusing 100 percent on trying to win the division and this is a division game. We’re trying to get to 3-0 in the ACC.
“I really liked the business-like approach our guys came back with yesterday. These guys know we have a ton of improvement to do. We have a lot of work to get done to improve in a lot of areas. We keep finding ways to win and I’m thankful for the leadership we have on this team.
“I really, really like the leadership of this team. They’re so focused, and when you put that with talent and great work ethic, you have a chance.
“Boston College is a typical Boston College team. They’re tough and physical. They’re a tough team for us every year. They’re a team that beat us last year, and went on to have a good season. We haven’t scored an offensive touchdown against them the last two years.
“We know we’re in for a tough game. They’ll come in confident. It’s homecoming, which is always a special time here. We’re just trying to have a good routine this week and do things the way we’ve done them all year.
“Their offense is an 11-12 personnel type of team. They’re very capable. Montel Harris is an outstanding running back. He was a guy last year that we had a hard time getting on the ground. They want to run the football, which hasn’t changed. Montel [Harris] has been injured, but he had 120 yards last week against Wake Forest. I know he’s going to be excited to play Clemson. If we’re going to win this game, we have to stop the run.
“Their defense is strong, physical and young. They don’t have the statistics they’ve had in the last couple of years, but they’re always really tough. They only have one senior on the defense (and only two on offense). They’re a young football team. Their defense is active up front.
“Luke Kuechly may be the best linebacker in the country. He’s a great football player. He doesn’t look like your typical middle linebacker, but you turn the film on and he’s unbelievable. He’s in the picture on every play. He’s leading the nation in tackles. He’s relentless.
“I met him at the Nagurski Award dinner last year when Da’Quan Bowers was honored and he looks like a biochemist with those glasses (off the field). You would never know he tears peoples heads off on the football field. He is relentless. You look at the film and he is around the ball on every play. It is amazing.
“Kevin Pierre-Louis is sixth in the conference in tackles. Both of those guys combined are really good football players.
“Bottom line – the focus is on us. We have to prepare as hard as we can for Boston College. We’re just trying to improve in certain areas. We just want to take another step towards our next goal.
“Injury wise – we’re in pretty good shape. We have a lot of guys beat up, but the only one definitely out is Spencer Benton (broken shoulder blade). We’re going to miss him a lot. I’m hopeful we’ll get him back at some point before the season is over, and he’s a guy we’re definitely going to miss. We have to take today and tomorrow and see who we’re going to have as our kickoff guy. [Chandler] Catanzaro will probably be our backup punter. He’s capable if we have to use him. Dawson [Zimmerman] and [Chandler] Catanzaro will be the two guys we’ll look at as far as kickoff guys. I won’t know who the starter is going to be until later in the week.”
On Tajh [Boyd] leading offense: “We just do what we do. We continue to open our offense up and tweak it each week. We’ve done a lot of the same things every week, but different ways to do it. We have a big library of calls, but some things we haven’t gotten to because of who we’re playing. We didn’t play great offensively last week, but Virginia Tech was a tough defense. Our tempo wasn’t as good as it has been, but we made enough plays to win the game.”
On Boston College’s preparation with a “sense of urgency”: “They’re going to do what they do. They didn’t change a lot against us last year even though they were at a critical point; they just whipped us. We lived in the red zone last year, but couldn’t score. We let them hang around and we ended up getting beat. They wanted it more than we did.”
On players and fans “buying in”: “I thought our guys bought in last year. They played hard. We weren’t a bad team last year, but we had a bad record. Our guys stayed together. That’s how I knew we were on the right track in a lot of areas.
“From a program standpoint, I knew we had a lot of things that were starting to take root. We have outstanding leadership and great chemistry on our staff. They’re intangibles, but they’re very underrated on a football team.
“The attention to detail is just way better than it was last year. We also have better players and more weapons. We tried hard last year, but we have a whole different dimension to us last year than we do this year.
“When you win games, it breeds confidence. I don’t care what the people are saying about me, whether they’re behind me or against me. I don’t listen to it. I don’t care what people say or think about me. I just want to make a difference in the players’ lives.”
On not being influenced by external factors: “It’s a challenge in the world we live in. Guys are social people – twitter, internet, Facebook, etc. The critics are so much more accessible. We’ve done a good job as a team and a staff tuning out the external factors. We’ve had to work hard to get them to not listen to the negatives. We’ve had to get them to block all of that out so that we can do our jobs.
“What they’ve bought in to is this – if we’re going to change Clemson, we have to do it from the inside. We have to be focused on this process, this work ethic. If we’re about those things, we’ll change Clemson. You don’t listen to what `they’ say. We the ones who know what’s going on, we’re here everyday.
“This is something we’ve had to preach. Our team has been incredible. They’ve done a great job tuning out the negatives. All summer, no one had anything nice to say about Clemson. Our players have done a great job tuning that out, and getting the job done. Preparation is why we’re 5-0. All the outside stuff is irrelevant.”
On players exceeding expectations: “We’ve found a way to win, but we’re still a work in progress. We weren’t very good the first two weeks. Tajh [Boyd] has exceeded expectations. He has been outstanding. I expected Sammy Watkins to be great, and he’s been great.
“Corey Crawford is a guy that’s not statistically flashy, but I’m really excited about him and his future. Brandon Thomas is a work in progress and has been a positive for us. Philip Price has been outstanding. We have a lot of guys who have stepped up in a lot of ways. All the guys have taken pride in their performance, but we have a lot of guys that are still works in progress.”
On Jonathan [Tig] Willard: “He’s been great. He was ACC player of the week this week. Kevin [Steele] loves him. It’s a story you want to see. You want guys to get better in your program. Not everyone is great as a freshman. It doesn’t mean you’re not a good player. Guys get better. Tig is a great example of sticking with it and doing what he’s supposed to do. He handles his business and goes on. I really like to see him get the most out of Clemson. He’s slinky. He does a great job of avoiding guys. He’s a good blitzer and has really gotten better in his coverage.”
On Brandon Thompson: “He is the heart and soul of our defense. He doesn’t say a word, although I think he talks a lot on the field. He talks while he runs to tackle people. He’s going to be a high draft pick and he plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played. He hates to come out – he likes to play. He’s worked hard on his pass rush. He’s a good football player and I’m glad we have him. He’s a huge part of our run defense. You can’t block him with just one guy. We’re a hard team to run at.”
On Homecoming “We lost homecoming last year and it was miserable. It’s a big week on campus. Our students put a lot of effort into this week. Homecoming is a special time and we need to make sure we’re focused and we play the best we can. I want us to fill every seat in Death Valley. We’ll have a great crowd.”
On fans meeting the team at the West End Zone early Sunday morning: “Saturday night was incredible. That kind of fan support really energizes them. That was a great moment for our program. We didn’t really get a chance to celebrate with all the fans (who were at Virginia Tech) because it was away. To see everyone here and excited, it was great to see everyone celebrate a special moment.”
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