Sept. 29, 2009
CLEMSON, SC – Video of Head Coach www.clemsontigers.com via TigerCast on Tuesday, September 29. The press conference will begin at 11:00 a.m. and is free to all viewers.
Coach Swinney’s weekly press conference will be broadcast live on TigerCast each week throughout the 2009 season. Sign up today and watch Coach Swinney preview the game with the media each week!
Click on the link below to watch the press conference on TigerCast:
Swinney Press Conference – September 29, 11:00 AM
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Swinney Press Conference Quotes
Opening Statement: “There were a lot of positives coming out of the TCU game. Our football team is getting better. That is what we see and what we know. We are continuing to play with good effort. Our kids have been consistent. They have showed up every week ready to play and have put it on the line four games in a row, which is something I am proud of.
“If you look around college football you see teams really high, really low getting blown out. This football team has come to play. We had a great meeting yesterday and a really good practice. It is good to see what I already know about these kids, but they just respond the right way.
“We put a little film together that I call the `win reel’ because we just have to learn how to win games like that. When you have control of the game certain mistakes don’t get magnified. But when you are playing good teams and close games and you are in position to win, you have to win the game. That is a mentality.
“My thing that I look at is, are we in position to win. Are we giving our team a chance? The answer to that is absolutely. We just want to make sure we understand that we need to win when we have the chance and how critical one play can be when you are playing a good football team.
“We focused a lot on the good things we are doing at practice and in our team meeting on Monday. The biggest thing is we are getting better and have to stay the course. I haven’t lost confidence in any of the things we are doing; I don’t have any doubt about that. If we continue to do that the wins are going to come.
“We played a team that gave up no sacks. Landon Walker went out and gave up zero sacks to the sack leader in the nation. I am really proud of him for that, and also really proud of Kourtnei Brown for giving us a great look last week and really preparing our tackles to go against Hughes.
“We are running ball well, especially in the fourth quarter. This year in the fourth quarter we have had 42 rushes for 213 yards. We are averaging five yards a carry in the fourth quarter. That is a good thing. That is winning football. We are making improvement in a lot of areas. Our effort is good.
“C.J. Spiller has been phenomenal. I can’t say enough about him. We all know what he has accomplished and to do something that only one other player has accomplished in college football history is pretty rare air.
“The defense has gotten some key stops for us and has gotten a lot of turnovers. We have gotten some sacks. We are just improving in a lot of areas as a football team. We are just missing some opportunities whether it is a throw or a catch, defending a throw. In the red zone obviously we want touchdowns.
“We have played four games and those teams we played are 12-3 combined and two of the three losses are to us. I believe playing a tough schedule is going to pay off for us and we are going to be a battle-tested bunch as we continue.
“Maryland is off to a slow start, but Ralph Friedgen has been around a long time and has a tremendous track record. He will have this group ready to play. They have our full attention after they beat us at Clemson last year. We are very much aware of what kind of football team Maryland is and what they are capable of doing.
“For them, they are getting ready to play eight straight conference games. We are going on our third conference game. For them it is a new beginning, and a fresh start. They are 1-3 but they are undefeated in the conference so they have an opportunity to have a new beginning and a fresh start. They will be ready to play, we will get the best Maryland effort of the year I can assure you that. So we have to be ready. If we are going to be a good team we have to go on the road and win. We have another opportunity to do that Saturday.”
“Just looking at their offense, Coach Friedgen does a good job along with Coach Franklin. They are very balanced in what they do. They have multiple personnel groupings, which creates some serious game planning during the week. We will have to be very sound. They want to run the ball so we have to be able to stop the run on first and second down. They love to take the homerun shot on those downs.
“This kid Torrey Smith is a pretty good player, he is a good receiver, leading the ACC in reception yards and kickoff return yards. He is actually ahead of CJ in all-purpose running. Their quarterback (Chris Turner) is a good player. He is a little better runner than I would like for him to be. That is something we are going to show improvement on. I am sure they will test us to see if we are better prepared to handle the quarterback. He is a good solid player.”
“Defensively they are young. They only have four starters back and lost one of the top guys on defense to an injury early in the year. They just a new defensive coordinator and have a completely different scheme on that side of the ball. It is night and day from what they have been coverage wise. They are going a little bit more towards an odd front with a lot of different blitzes.
“They are getting better every week. They did a good job against Rutgers, if you just look at the score you wouldn’t think so but there were lot of turnovers in the game by Maryland. Their defense held them well until right there at the end. They are really improving on the defensive side of the ball and have some impressive safety’s and really big inside.”
Any chance a loss beats you twice? “No. Theses kids have come to play. These guys have shown up and played with great effort four games in a row. We don’t worry about the scoreboard or the last game. We just have to play a little smarter with a little bit better attention to detail. We are not a highly penalized team but we have the critical penalties that we get that we have to do a better job with. They will be ready to play.”
Will winning big ball game help the team learn how to win? “Maybe. I think it is just understanding the importance of the attention to detail, that this technique is being coached for a reason and when motion goes this way you have to be inside not outside. We lost to two good teams where we were in position to win. We have to win in the fourth quarter. In both of our losses we have to the lead in the fourth quarter. We have to win the game. That killer instinct on both sides of the ball and we are getting there.
“I want to win a National Championship and the only thing we know about this team is that we are not a National Championships team this year. That’s the only thing I know about this team right now, but I think we have a chance to be a really good team. Could we be a divisional championship team? A conference championship team? Those are still out on the table. We have to play a little bit smarter.
Is it different than the past? “The past is a bucket of ashes, bottom line. This is a different football team, different Clemson and a new staff. There is a lot of difference here. It is all about today. It is about what is going on in those meeting rooms and what is happening on that practice field. That is all that matters, and getting ready for Maryland.”
On Red Zone issues: “We are just missing opportunities in the red zone. We have to keep doing what we are doing. We just are missing opportunities. We had a screen called on second-and-six from the TCU 20 last week, and you can’t have a better play, but we had a breakdown in communication and didn’t have a lineman out there to block. Then it is third and three and we miss Jacoby wide open. Those are missed opportunities and we kick a field goal.
“When you get in the red zone that speed is condensed because you don’t have as far to go so everything is compressed. You have to be deadly in your execution and we are having some breakdowns. Better, keep teaching and coaching stay the course, don’t panic and start changing everything. That is what are going to continue to do and we are getting better.”
What does it mean that Spiller is almost the all-purpose leader even though having shared playing time of the last three years? “He is a guy that has a lot of all-times, and first times beside his name. He has played three years and two and a half games and he has accomplished that. And has split time with a very good player in James Davis for three of those years. This guy is dynamic. He is as explosive a player as there is in college football. He has had a 60-yard play in every game. That is amazing to me. This guy is special. He has played tough, that’s what I like. He is protecting better on pass plays. He is a great route runner. He is leading in that locker room. He has just really matured and doing the right things. And he is so humble.”
On the offensive line: “It is getting better. We just played the top defense in the nation last year that had given up 100 yards to a running back just once in the last 20 games. C.J. had 112 on Saturday to become the second player in the last 21 games to do it against TCU.
“We are not perfect yet. Had some missed opportunities. We played without or best tackle (Chris Hairston) and didn’t give up a sack. Are we a dominate team up front yet? No1. But we are improving. We are running the ball better, we are holding the point of attack better, we are covering people up better, and finishing blocks better.”
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