Monday Dabo press conference

CLEMSON - Head coach Dabo Swinney talks about Clemson's invitation to the Meineke Car Care Bowl and more on Monday morning.

OPENING STATEMENT: We're really excited about playing in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. It's an honor to be selected to play South Florida in Charlotte. Playing on a New Year's Eve Bowl is a good opportunity for us to try to get better. It gives us good practice time and a chance to end the season on a good note. There's great fan support out there. That's one thing I would like to say, I'd like to thank our fans. Bowls can really select who they want. We would not be in this bowl game if it wasn't for the passion of our fan-base. I think we got about 12,000 tickets. I anticipate having a really good crowd. I look forward to seeing all the fans in Charlotte. It's a good matchup. Don't know a whole lot about South Florida yet. On the surface, they look kind of similar to us, as far as strengths and weaknesses of the team. I think it will be a good matchup. Florida is a big area for us, where South Florida is. It's a good matchup, from a recruiting standpoint.

Practice will get started here shortly this week. They'll be in exams all week long. Just running and lifting. We'll bring them back in on Sunday for a meeting and we'll be back on Monday. Injury-wise, we're in pretty good shape coming out of our last ball game. Andre Ellington, his surgery is scheduled for the 13th. The teams in exams this week. They're excited about playing, excited about ending the season on a positive note. One of our goals is to win the bowl game. I'll be travelling to Charlotte for the Nagurski Award banquet. About this time a year ago, I agreed to speak there. Da'Quan Bowers is a finalist there.

KYLE PARKER: He's doing good. Getting ready to get back to practice and hopefully lead this team to a win. He's excited about playing. He's doing well in school. Getting ready to finish up, like the rest of these seniors are. The bowl game is about trying to win. It's about the guy that gives you the best chance to win today. That's not changed. It's KP. He's excited about playing. Tajh will play. We're excited about having another spring practice to get Tajh more work.

"I have to discipline my children sometime. It's part of being a dad. It's part of being a coach. You have to do it with your players from time to time when they make a mistake."

RUN-IN WITH PARKER: Now a days there's cameras everywhere. That's unfortunate. The game of football is a game of passion, emotion, adrenaline—all of those things. You take competitive people and put them in that type of environment, you'll get those things. It was far from ugly. It was a situation that needed to be dealt with, and it was. It's over. That's what I love about my job, getting to be with young people every day, and getting to see them mature. Disappointment is a part of life, a part of football. You have to handle it the right way. I'm proud of KP and how he responded, responded to me personally one-on-one. He's a young man that I'm close to and I want nothing but the best for him. I have to discipline my children sometime. It's part of being a dad. It's part of being a coach. You have to do it with your players from time to time when they make a mistake.

BOWL PRACTICE: The schedules are done. The only thing I haven't done is the time at the bowl site. I've got to work it around events. The schedule is done. I had a long staff meeting yesterday, covered a lot of things. That was one of them. We've got a really good mixture. One thing you don't want to do, when you have this amount of time, is kill them on the first or second day. The tendency is, you have more time, you're going to do too much. You have to be smart, as far as your game prep time. We'll have a lot of good on good. Offense versus defense. Team pass, skele. One on ones, cross-over. It'll be good for both sides. We'll get a lot of people involved in that—more than we would in a typical game week. When the practices are over, the varsity goes to condition, we'll have our jayvee practice. have four or five more periods, do extensive work with our young players and redshirts. Treat it like spring practice. Fundamentals, technique, alignments, assignments. Our redshirts have had an excellent fall. Our power hour has been very productive. They've been humbled a little bit. They're eager to get out there.

GOOD FINISH: It creates good momentum going into the off-season, because that's their last memory. These are young people, it's the last thing on their mind. It's important that we try to do everything we can to win this ball game, because it does create momentum.

BILLY NAPIER AND FURMAN: They met Friday. It's not going to be a long, drawn out process. That's all we know.


QB Kyle Parker (pictured above) is expected to start in the bowl game versus South Florida. (Roy Philpott)
DISAPPOINTED IN…:We missed nine kicks. Of those nine, six of them were from the 20 and in. That's a lot of drives where you come away with nothing. That's deflating, frustrating…we weren't a great kicking team last year. We were able to overcome that because of some explosiveness. We didn't quite have that this year. We needed to make some kicks. We didn't have to be great, just needed to be average...we didn't come through in that area. It's not just the kicker. It's the operation. We had a couple of kickers miss kicks. The bottom line is, we didn't make kicks. You can't be the type of team we wanted to be this year when you didn't make field goals. For those that are disappointed out there, take that disappointment and times it by a million. That's how we as coaches and players feel.

ANY CHANGES ON THE STAFF? Anything can happen. I'm really confident in my coaches. We've done a lot of good things in a lot of areas. Part of what I do, I have to evaluate everything. I evaluate our coaching staff, support staff, players. If I feel like changes to be made, I'll make them. I'm not going to make a change to make a change. It's all about understanding what the real issues are and not making a change to make a change, because the second year didn't go like you wanted it to go. This year is going to make our success sweeter. Whatever changes need to be made, I'll make them. They're could be changes, there may not be any.

ON TDP: Terry Don is a friend. He's a guy that believes in me. It's easy to be supportive when things are good. It's tough when they aren't. He's been around a long time. He's a wise person. He's been around the game a long time. He's been around great coaches, athletic directors. He's shared some things with me, in private, that are very encouraging. I'd go to bat for Terry Don in a New York second. He's given me an opportunity to fulfill a dream. It hurts me badly right now. I want instant gratification and instant success, just like everybody else in this world. Football, unfortunately, is not that way.

MORE ON PARKER: He's completed over 60 percent of his passes in the past six games. What I saw him do at Florida State, what I've seen on the practice fields, game fields over the last two years, he's a winner. Just because he had a bad moment or didn't have a good game, it still doesn't mean he's not the best quarterback. We've had a lot of guys have bad games. He's got to practice. He's got perform. He will. He'll be ready to go. He's excited about playing.


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