Thursday Dabo Swinney comments

CLEMSON - After Thursday's practice at the indoor track building, head coach Dabo Swinney met with the media to discuss bowl practice, facilities and more.

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OPENING COMMENTS: So far, so good. We're still on scheduled but we still have a lot of work to do.

GOOD WEEK FOR A REAL INDOOR FACILITY?: This has really worked really good. I'm thankful that we've got this. They did this back in August. It's made a big difference for us. It's better.

MORE ON INDOOR FACILITY: I hope so. I'm encouraged by the communication that I've had, both with our president and A.D.

PLAYERS GRADUATING TODAY: We had nine guys. I stood them all up yesterday in front of the team. You just can't lose sight of what the ultimate goal is. To see these guys graduate, that's what it's all about. From a guy whose experienced what kind of difference education can make on your life, it just never gets old seeing those guys—that look in their eye when they've completed a major goal, like graduating from college. I'm proud of all those guys. For some of them, it didn't come easy…you mentioned a guy like DeAndre [McDaniel]. From where he was five and a half years ago to where he is today, it's just amazing. That's really what it's all about. I'm really proud of those guys. They're off today. All their families are in town. Hopefully I'll get to see them here shortly. They've got a little reception for them. I'm really proud of them.

ACADEMICALLY ELIGIBLE: Nobody has told me any differently. Pretty much everybody made it. We might have a walk-on guy or somebody I don't know about yet. Those guys transfer in here, this and that. I think tomorrow is the actual day that they officially rule on everybody. We got grades in yesterday. As far as people sitting down to make eligibility rulings, I think the official day is tomorrow. I don't anticipate anybody being out.

HOPKINS IMPROVEMENT?: Knowledge. He's still got a ways to go…he certainly had the opportunity to play a whole bunch. He made some really big plays for us. I think everybody would agree that he and Jaron [Brown] were our two best guys out there. He's played basketball, never really been a guy that's trained for football, been in the weight room. For a true freshman to walk in there and make some of the plays that he made, he did an excellent job. But he's nowhere near what he can be. He's just scraped the surface on the kind of player he's got a chance to be three years from now.

SENSE OF URGENCY: We've got a great sense of urgency. We've got six wins. We're trying to do everything we can to prepare to go win this ball game. We've got a lot of extra time. We've got more opportunity to rep a lot of guys. I like our tempo. I think we've had good practice tempo each day. We've still got a lot to do.

DIFFERENT KIND OF MOTIVATING THIS POST-SEASON?: It's one of the toughest jobs you have when you're a coach—motivating young people when they're disappointed. That's a tough thing to do, but that's part of it. I think this team has been resilient, in that regard. They've competed hard and played with great effort, regardless of every week. They get back up and just keep pushing through. That's a good quality to have within your team. Last year was different. You're runner-up in the league, you fall to a bowl game—the Music City Bowl was great. It was an awesome experience for us. We had an excellent time. They treated us first class. But it really wasn't where you anticipated being. Not only did you have the disappointment of losing that ball game the way we lost it. Then you've got to get yourself geared up, and not go home for Christmas. We were talking about it the other day. I told them I was going to be blue that I wasn't going to be with them for Christmas. They said, ‘we won't.' I think they're excited. I think they're excited about going to Charlotte. They're excited about trying to win the game. They've been pretty motivated.


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