Nov. 15, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – Video of Head Coach ClemsonTigers.com via TigerCast on Tuesday, November 15. 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 15, 11:00 AM
Swinney Press Conference Transcript
Opening Statement: “We’re back on the road this week and have to go place in a tough place at N.C. State. They’re a very capable team. They went to Virginia and win, and now Virginia is playing for the Coastal Division title. They shut out North Carolina, they battled hard with Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. They’re getting guys back and we’re going to have to play better.
“Their quarterback (Mike Glennon) has as good of as arm as anyone we’ve played. He throws the football in some tight spots and he’s a very good player. Running back James Washington is a guy that’s been around and is very talented. He also catches the ball very well. We’re going to have to stop the run and the pass. They have three receivers that they can spread the ball out to. They all have about 30 catches so we’re going to have to match up well with them.
“Their tight end (George Bryan) is always involved. Coach O’Brien has always done a good job getting the tight end involved. Their offensive line has a lot of starts. Defensively, they’re playing their best football right now. They’re playing really tough on defense. They have three of the top-12 tacklers in the conference.
“They have the nation’s leading interceptor in David Amerson (10 picks on the year) and they have 20 picks as a team. Their linebackers (Terrell Manning and Audie Cole) are very good football players. Manning leads them in sacks.
“T.J. Graham is an excellent returner. He leads the league in punt returns. It’s just about us having a great week of practice. Every game is critical. There’s a lot at stake every week the rest of the season. We have to play like a champion. We won the division; we need to go play like it.
“N.C. State is having their annual “Toys for Tots” drive on Saturday. They are asking fans to bring a toy and they’ll collect them. You can also make a monetary donation. My family will participate.”
On motivation to play against NC State: “We are fighting for a 10th win. We haven’t won 10 games in 21 years. That would be a big deal. A lot of these guys weren’t even born then. We have to finish strong and be our best. We have to keep moving forward. We can never be satisfied.
“We have a lot of improving to do in every area, every position. We have a lot to do to get better. We have a chance to win seven ACC games. That hasn’t happened here since 1983.
“There’s plenty on the table out there for these guys. We’re the best in the division, but there’s more out there. We’re trying to go from good to great. Every win is critical, from a big picture standpoint. We’re trying to have the best finish we can have. This is a very important game.
On turnovers: “It’s a concern. We have to be smart. We’ve had three fumbles in two games. We have to have ball security. Tajh [Boyd]’s success and confidence is sometimes not a positive. He thinks he can throw it through a camera lens. You don’t want to take that mentality away from him. He has so much confidence in his receivers.
“We’ve played teams the last couple of weeks that have been dropping eight guys. We have to play smart. We have to dial him back and we all have to be a little more disciplined. You don’t want to lose this mentality, but we are going to coach discipline really hard this week.
“We’ve had a lot of guys getting hands on balls making throws we shouldn’t have made. He’s played 10 games as a starter. He has a chance to start 40 at Clemson. He’s still learning. I love how he never quits. He always responds. It’s really good for us, especially as we move forward.
On comeback wins: “It’s a great quality to be able to come back. It’s a sign of mental and physical toughness. At the end of the day, it’s a 60-minute game. It’s about finding a way to win and overcoming adversity. We’ve overcome a 14-point deficit three times. That’s a great quality, but we have to stop getting in those situations. It’s just part of where we are right now as a team. You have a touchdown lead at halftime against Wake Forest, and then before you blink you give up 21 points.
“But, this team feels like they can score at any time. We never feel like we’re out of it. This team believes in what we’re doing, but they also understand the problems. We have to get guys committed to performing consistently. That’s our issue right now. We don’t consistently have 11 guys performing at their best. That’s what we’re working on.
On BCS standings: “I don’t think you should even think about that stuff until the ninth or 10th game of the season. Prior to that, it’s a waste of time because it changes so drastically every week. Every game is critical. We’re focused on having the best finish we can possibly have. In the next two and a half weeks, we play three games. We’re trying to finish strong. We’re trying to close this season out ranked as high as we possibly can. I don’t worry about the other teams, but I know where we are and I know our potential.
On Sammy Watkins’ injury: “It’s really up to him whether or not he plays on Saturday. He’s looking better. We’re going to keep getting him ready to play. We’ll probably make a decision on game day. This is the most important game of the season. If he’s not 100% and he doesn’t feel confident, we’ll hold him. It’s hard for me to know on Tuesday. If we were playing a championship game, he would play. It’s an injury that just takes a little time to heal. We just want to make sure he’s as close to 100% as we can get him. We’ll see where he is on Saturday.
On defense: “They’re getting better. They’re learning from mistakes throughout the course of games. It was great to see our defense to get a couple of huge stops on Saturday with five minutes to go. The sack was big because it gave us the field position we needed. The defense just keeps playing.
“It was good to see two senior guys (Rennie Moore and Brandon Thompson) step up big for us. The defense has played well. They weren’t consistent with their run technique on Saturday, but those guys have given us every thing they could all season. They’re a big reason why we’re 9-1.
On play of Brandon Ford: “He’s a very capable pass catcher. He’s improved greatly from a fundamental standpoint as a tight end. He’s still a work in progress. He’s just going to get better. He’s playing along side a great player (Dwayne Allen) , so he’s had to maximize the opportunities he’s been given. We may need to get him in there a little more and cut a few of Dwayne Allen’s reps. Dwayne gets a lot of snaps.
On past experience of getting ready for 2009 ACC Championship: “I wouldn’t do anything differently than I did two years ago, from a coaching standpoint. The guys might think differently than they did then, but the coaches put everything they had into it. This game isn’t complicated.
“We went down to Columbia (in 2009), returned a kick, and then our best player didn’t play. Then, we turned the ball over. When you turn the ball over, you can’t win against good teams. It’s just about preparing to do your best every week regardless of the opponent and of what’s happened.
“If you’re good, you’re going to get other teams’ best. That’s the mentality you should have. When Clemson comes to town, you’re going to get their best and people expect the best from you. We have to be ready to perform at the highest level every week, regardless of the past and regardless of what’s coming in the future.
“Experience has helped us. Learning mental toughness last year is a big reason why we’re 9-1 this year. It’s why we have the leadership we do. We have a lot of guys on the team who weren’t here two years ago, but the guys that were here know what an ACC championship game is all about and it should help them.
On Coty Sensabaugh: “He’s gone from a guy we took on signing day to an NFL prospect. The scouts really like him. He’s improved every year. He’s been a work in progress for 5 years. He’s very conscientious. He had a lot of limitations when he got here, and he has worked his tail off to get where he is now.
“[Wake Forest wide receiver Chris] Givens had just four catches for 31 yards Saturday, and a big reason why he is because Coty Sensabaugh was in his grill. I’m very proud of Coty. He’s going to be a captain this week and I’m excited about how he’s finishing his Clemson career.
On Clemson receivers against NC State’s secondary: “You’re a competitor and when you go against someone who’s the best at something, it’s a challenge. If I’m a quarterback knowing I’m going against a team that’s very good at interceptions, it’s a challenge I want to take. If I’m a wide receiver, I want to make sure I get to the ball every time. N.C. State brings five guys every snap. They’re a pressure football team. They also do a good job mixing coverage. They play good technique. They’re just an opportunistic team. They have a lot of sacks and they’re going to be a big challenge.
On Phillip Price’s injury: “He’s a big loss for us. He’s a steady, smart player. He really has become one of our most studious guys from a football standpoint. Good news – we’re going to get him back. Not sure if it’s going to be against South Carolina or at the ACC Championship, but either way that’s exciting.
“David Smith is going to get some work at tackle, along with Brandon Thomas. I’m confident in these guys. Everyone is going to practice hard this week. We’re going to have to perform better than we did last week. Our offensive line has played a lot of snaps. It’s a luxury to have a guy like David Smith, who has basically been a starter his whole career, ready to step in if needed.”
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