Oct. 18, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – Video of Head Coach ClemsonTigers.com via TigerCast on Tuesday, October 18. 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 18, 11:00 AM
Press Conference Transcript
Opening Statement: “North Carolina is another tough challenge for us this week. They’re as good as anyone we’ve played up to this point. They’re a really good football team that’s capable of beating anyone on any given day. They have a lot of future NFL players on their roster. They have a lot of guys that we recruited. They’re a good team that plays hard and doesn’t give up.
“Coach Withers has done a great job. Their offense is NFL-style and very balanced. Any time you play a team that can present that much balance, that’s a problem. They’re a ball-control type of team. They want to keep the ball from you. Last year they had the ball for over 13 minutes in the 4th quarter so we really only had three quarters of football (offense) against them.
“They do a lot of shifts and a lot of motions and really challenge you from a preparation standpoint. You must have everyone communicating and everyone on the same page. Their offensive line is huge and very athletic.
“Their quarterback (Bryn Renner) leads this league in efficiency. He hasn’t thrown a pick in the last three games. Their running back (Giovani Bernard) is a freshman and is a very good football player who is averaging over 100 yards a game. His backup, Ryan Houston, is also a very good football player and has played well against us in the past.
“They want to establish the run, but they also have receivers who are as good as we’re going to play. Dwight Jones is a great player. Erik Highsmith and Jheranie Boyd make plays too. They’re a talented group across the field.
“Defensively, they’re also as good as we’ve played. Their front four will all play on Sundays. Their linebackers are very good. Zach Brown is leading them in tackles and has done a nice job. Kevin Reddick is a good player. Charles Brown has a lot of starts and is an experienced guy.
“They’re a good football team that’s going to be a challenge for us. They have dangerous returners. T.J. Thorpe is leading the league in returns. We’re going to have to do a great job in our coverage.
“Bottom line – we’re glad to be back home. We need our crowd to be rockin’ on Saturday. I can’t stress that enough. If there was ever a game that we needed our crowd – this would be the one. This is a difficult place to play when the crowd is rockin’. It’s like playing 12 people.
“We’re honoring the (1981) national championship team this weekend. It’s a special time when you get a group like that together. The best way to honor them is to play our best and get a win on Saturday.
On containing Maryland quarterback: “Maryland is a well-coached team that has lost some tough games. CJ Brown can fly. He did a fantastic job taking advantage of us being undisciplined in some areas. He just beat us some times. It’s not like we’ve seen him all year long. They did some things that created some issues. We didn’t help ourselves by giving up 14 points right out of the gate off turnovers. Things that happened Saturday are things that we can control.
On Justin Parker: “He’s hurt right now. He’s questionable for this week (hamstring). He’s a young player that’s developing. He starts on special teams and does great things there for us. We haven’t had a lot of “regular personnel” games where he’s seen a lot of time on defense. But, he is banged up and hurt and is questionable for this week.
On North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard: “He’s quick. He’s a slasher. If you don’t fit your gaps perfectly, he’ll find that spot. He’s a little like CJ [Spiller] in his early career. CJ was a guy that could stop his feet and explode. [Giovani] Bernard is the same way. He’s a guy that’s gotten more confident. He’s well coached and plays well within their scheme.
On Andre Ellington: “Last week was the first time he’s practiced every day in awhile. He had a great week of practice and I wasn’t surprised at all to see him have a great game. He’s going to have a great second half of the season. He had two or three games where he was banged up a little and then played at 80 percent against Florida State. Virginia Tech was a hard team to run the ball against, but then he got going again against Boston College (117 yards). He’s going to have a great second half of the season.
On Sammy Watkins: “He looks like spider-man. The ball just sticks to his hands. He has great hands and attacks the football better than anyone I’ve ever seen. He has great body control and when you put that with his type of mentality and the fact that he has gifted hands, you have a fantastic player. When he gets his grip on it, it’s over. He’s special.
On Clemson’s offensive line: “Let’s start with Philip Price. No one thought Philip Price was going to be our starting left tackle. He has been our most consistent player on the offensive line. We moved him last year and were very patient with him. He spent the year learning from (former Clemson OL) Chris Hairston and he was ready this year.
“He’s become one of our smartest players up front. He knows what’s going on. We don’t have a tougher guy on the team. If there’s a walk-on out there having the impact that this guy is having, I want to see him. I think he has a chance to play on Sundays.
“Brandon Thomas has really come on. That’s been a big positive in our football team. He’s having fun and preparing and studying and has answered the bell for us. It has allowed us to develop depth in our offensive line. We needed someone to come on for us and now we have some options. We have guys we can move around now. Brandon is a very physical player.
“Dalton Freeman’s snaps are on the money. He has to do more than anyone and you can count on him. He loves to play. He’s a coach’s son and it’s like having a coach out there. It’s like taking Robbie Caldwell and whipping him into shape and putting him on the field.
“Antoine McClain is a “man-child”. He’s very physical and strong. He’s done a great job for us. He’s had some critical blocks. When he makes a mistake, he’s corrected it.
“Landon Walker gives everything at every practice, every meeting and every game. He’s a guy that’s going to be playing after Clemson. He’s a great leader for this football team. I’m so proud of him. His progress is amazing. He wasn’t very good as a redshirt freshman and to see where he is now is amazing. He has worked his tail off fundamentally and physically to make himself into a very good player.
“I’m very pleased with our offensive line. A lot of the younger guys are making progress. They’re getting coached, watching film, getting the same amount of reps as the first team, and they’re developing.
On forcing turnovers: “Maryland was the first team we’d lost the turnover margin to. We had a couple of costly turnovers. We have to keep doing what we’ve been doing. Defensively, we’ve done a good job. I’d like to see us force a few more. We left a few on the table at Maryland. We have to take better advantage of those opportunities.
On North Carolina’s defense: “They’re as good as anyone we’ve played. All of them will play on Sunday. This will be a big task. We have to protect our quarterback. We do that and it will give us an opportunity to win.
On noon games: “You can’t let things you can’t control affect your performance. If you do, you’re never going to be great. We have to show up and play the game. We have a process of preparation to get them ready. We have a plan in place and we just adjust it based on kick off time. We played Auburn at noon – that was a great day. Our guys were just excited to play. When you only get 12 games – what does it matter what time you play.
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