Dabo Swinney's Press Conference

CLEMSON - Dabo Swinney previews Clemson's matchup with Wofford this Saturday in Death Valley.

Opening statement...
Swinney: Good to see you guys today. Good opener for us after going back over the tape. Good to play a game so we have video to teach from so we can grow some of these guys up that haven't played yet. All of our mistakes were very correctable things. Not overly concerned. The biggest thing is to get better each week starting with Wofford.

Injury-wise we are in pretty good shape with the exception of Rashard [Hall]. [Demont] Buice will be back and he can be a real factor for us on special teams. Breeland and Hawkins will be in green today.


Starting safety Rashard Hall is likely out of Saturday's game against Wofford. (Roy Philpott)
Wofford is going to be a challenge for us. Continuing our schedule of champions for us from last year as they won the Southern Conference and won 10 games. Coach Ayers, I can't say enough about him. He's been there a long time. A first class guy. He's done a great job building and molding that program the way he wants it to be. They do a good job recruiting to their system. They play with a ton of energy. They play physical. Sound. Fundamental football team.

Their offense is a big challenge. They do a lot of things. They will come out with three backs. Then two backs and three wide. They will give you a lot of different looks with their option plays. We have to do a great job with their eyes and if you don't it's a big play. They led the nation in rushing a year ago in their division.

Their No. 7 is a work horse. Our defense describes him as Chad Diehl with moves. He averaged more than six yards per carry last year so we have to do a good job against him. They have tall wide outs. They don't throw it a lot but they average 19.2 yards per catch. For us, we have to tackle a little bit better. We have to play physical against these guys.

The key for us defensively is first dawn. We have to put them in long yardage situations. I'm anxious to see us line up against these guys.

Defensively they are mostly an odd-front. They pretty much have four linebackers on the field the whole time. They are sound. Don't make mistakes. We will have to be efficient. But it's about us trying to get better this week and see our guys correct these mistakes and see if we get to 2-0.

When you say concern about Rashard Hall how concerned are you?
Swinney: It's kind of a strange deal. He probably could play this week. He actually feels pretty good. No swelling or anything. What they are going to do is fit him for a special brace. We will see if we can hold him this week. We'll see how he does against Auburn. If it does find and responds well and he's comfortable with that hopefully he'll be fine. If not, it's a situation that will probably need some surgery at some point. But he feels good. He's jogging on it today. It's more of a defect (that he has).

What are the challenges of going from defending the spread to wing bone in just one week?
Swinney: For our offense, it's not as drastic. It's very different but there's still some carry-over - for our offense. For our defense it's completely different. There's no carry over. But it's football and another opportunity to gain experience. It's blocking and tackling.

Can you talk about the importance of playing a game like this in-state?
Swinney: Well, you don't take anybody for granted. We have to prepare for this game as hard as anybody. These guys are a load. A challenge. They are capable of beating you. They've been to Columbia twice recently and they lost 23-13 and 27-20 or something like that. This is a team that will come with nothing to lose. If you don't match that energy and you turn the ball over you find yourself in a long battle. Wofford had the lead on Clemson in 1981. If you aren't ready these guys can beat you. Most teams play a 1-AA team. usually one a year. I'm fine with that. I do like keeping it in-state. It's great for the state of South Carolina. But only if we win.

Texas played 18 true freshman. Auburn played a bunch. So did you. Any idea how that happens across the country?
Swinney: Well I don't know about other places. For us, we kind of knew this is coming. We've been pushing scholarships for two years to sign a class like we signed. The first year we signed 12 we could have signed 20-plus. Our first (normal) class we could have signed a full class. We stuck with what we wanted to do. But as a result, we are young and we have to rely on freshmen this year. But they are the right kind of guys. We are excited about them. We have guys who are beyond their years football-wise. All the way down to a guy like Robert Smith. Nobody talks about Robert Smith. Coaches love him. We just felt like we've done a good job the last couple of years with our system and how we've recruited.

How do you evaluate your two young defensive tackles, Deshawn Williams and Grady Jarrett?
Swinney: They did a good job. They were in there early. It's not just those two guys. Tavaris Barnes also played. They did a really good job for our first game. With Deshawn and Grady in particular, they had a couple of effort plays. They were both on our big-hit video. It was a good start.

What do you want to see from Tajh Boyd this week?
Swinney: I just want to see him start how we finished. That's the goal for our offense. We had a rough stretch there from an execution standpoint. Hopefully Tajh has that behind him and he'll play how he did to finish the game. He was 13 of 13 at one point. The amazing thing about it is, it was the second-most passing yards by a quarterback making his first start and he really only played a half. He was asleep the first half.

"I just want to see him start how we finished. That's the goal for our offense. We had a rough stretch there from an execution standpoint. Hopefully Tajh has that behind him and he'll play how he did to finish the game."

Was it all Tajh's fault?
Swinney: Well he didn't play well. He had some basic execution things we struggled with. Bellamy came in there on his first play and was wrong. He was running up to the line. We had a few miscues like that.

Those basic things with Tajh, what about the fourth and 1 and third and 1 before that?
Swinney: Didn't block the linebacker. I didn't think on the third down call we were running to score. But on the fourth down call we didn't block the linebacker. We didn't feel like we were physical enough. We didn't really brought it like we need to in that situation.

Are you concerned you can't be this vanilla in your play calling going forward and have the success you want?
Swinney: No I'm not concerned about play calling at all. I just think we played tight for whatever reason. When it's all said and done we won and it's the most yards we've had in the opener since 1985. Most yards offensively we've had since Florida State in 2009. At the end of the day we were productive. For me, what I always look at is turnover margin and big play ratio and we were very very good in those areas. The issues we had, again, they were very very correctable. Play calling was excellent.

Are you married to the idea you have to run it as much as we thought you would run it during the summer?
Swinney: I just want to win. We had runs called the other day but because of what you are talking about we had communication where we passed. That's the great thing about this system ... there's a lot of built in answers without having to change the play or anything like that. You saw that a little bit Saturday. We hit Nuke a couple of times with what we call "lookies." But I know this, if we can't run the football effectively, it's going to be a long season, especially with as much play-action we have. We ran the ball effectively the other day. Andre [Ellington] was at five yards per carry. But yes, we have some talented guys and a quarterback to throw it.

Can you talk about Stephone Anthony?
Swinney: He's special. That guy ... and Kevin will tell you the same thing. He's a very instinctive and talented freshman. He's got the whole package. We were calling it on the head set, here come's the wheel route. He played it perfect. Probably could have had the interception to be honest with you but he ended up on the ground. On the sack he went from point A to point B like a rocket. He's a special guy. I've seen that in practice but to see it in the game. Defensively we are pretty complex system over there. Awfully proud of him and where he is right now.

Wofford's offense - do you see a lot of Georgia Tech's offense in there?
Swinney: They've got Georgia Tech. They have Auburn. They have a little bit of everything. They are very diverse. They must do a great job of teaching. Definitely.

What did you think of Maryland's uniforms last night?
Swinney: I don't think that would fly in Clemson. They looked good. Both teams looked very good. From a uniform standpoint it was kind of hard to watch. You kind of had to turn down the TV a little bit.

CUTigers.com Top Stories