Teleconference transcript

A transcript of the Sunday teleconference with head coach Dabo Swinney.

Opening statement
Swinney: We've learned a lot from this tape. Or goal was to simply be 2-0. That's where we are. We've certainly got to continue to improve as a football team, in all areas, but I'm encouraged by the effort that I'm seeing. There's just things that we've got improve upon, if we're going to be able to matchup with a team like Auburn and go 3-0. Players of the game for of us were Andre Ellington on offense. Rennie Moore on defense and Dawson Zimmerman was our special teams player of the game.

I thought that, offensively, it's been a long time since I've been disappointed with 476 yards of total offense. We left some of it out there -- leaving a little bit of meat of the bone on both sides of the ball, just having some missed plays. I thought our quarterback really improved from week one to week two, and played a very solid game. We had some protection issues. That was the biggest problem we had -- very correctable, not an effort issue, or anything like that -- more of just being our assignments.


Andre Ellington has rushed for 254 yards and a touchdown this season. (Roy Philpott)
I like what I'm seeing from some of our skill guys. I think we're going to develop some weapons as we continue to play here. DeAndre Hopkins having the kind of game he had. I think with the guys that we've got at tight end and receiver, I'm very encouraged by our potential, especially as we continue to try to put it all together. I thought third-down was pretty good. We had no turnovers. That's a huge, huge emphasis that we've made from day one. Anytime you win that turnover margin, have more big plays than the opponent, you've got a chance to win. That's two weeks in a row we've done that.

It was good to see us, offensively, finish the game at the end. But, again, a lot of improving we're going to have to do from this film. Defensively, the biggest disappointment, they only completed two passes for 127 yards. That was frustrating. We just had some busts, big plays, whether it was a missed tackle or we just blew an assignment. That's an area that we've got to continue to try to improve upon. We're going to have to do some things at practice this week. We'll continue to emphasize that. We just had some assignment things. We did a really good job on No. 7. I was really worried about that guy coming in, but it ended up being the quarterback that hurt us the most, running the ball. At the end of the day, we had a huge fourth-down stop. We got better as the game went, didn't score a touchdown in the second half. They played with really, really good effort. Glad to see that on film.

Special teams, there were some issued with our field goal execution, as far as we dropped a snap. We didn't execute the fake field goal and we missed a field goal. We had the fake punt on us, where we did not force the punt. Punting was good. Coverage has been good. I thought our return game was good. Sammy Watkins looks like he's going to be a guy who's going to be a difference maker there for us there.

Again, 2-0, we've got a big test this week with Auburn. We're at it full speed right now. We'll get the team back here in the morning and get it going.

" We've got a lot of work to do...we're a team, as I said early, we're a little bit of a work in progress. That's probably how it's going to be here, for a little bit. We're very capable. We have potential."

The next three games area bigger challenge than you had the first two games. Are you guys ready for the next step?
Swinney: It's a bigger challenge the next 10 games. We've got a lot of work to do...we're a team, as I said early, we're a little bit of a work in progress. That's probably how it's going to be here, for a little bit. We're very capable. We have potential. If they'll continue to keep giving the effort and keep showing up, we've got to do a great job of coaching them up and see if we can keep find a way to keep winning. That's the bottom line.


Are you considering any personnel moves on your offensive line?
Swinney: No, not really. Probably most disappointed in David Smith. he did not play well. Mason Cloy is probably a guy that you may see here playing a little bit more. Brandon Thomas is a guy that we want to try to see if we can get something out of him at some point, whether it's putting him inside. The biggest thing is, we've got to do a little bit better job in a couple areas with those guys. We're confident that we've got a good first group. I think that they certainly can play better than they did on Saturday, without a doubt. I'm disappointed in those guys. It's more assignment oriented than effort, or anything like that. It's stuff that really shouldn't happen. Right now, we'll go back to work Monday. We'll have a very physical Tuesday and Wednesday. We're always open to changes. It ain't the way we play on Saturday, it's a reflection of what they've done in practice all week, as far as who starts the game.

How about the physicality of the line and the way they played?
Swinney: I thought they tried to be a little bit more physical than they were the first week. It's still not what we want. We had 476 yards, really 500-something yards of offense, but we lost 45 yards on the sacks. Two of them, I thought were legit sacks, where we just go beat. The others were assignment, where we turned a guy completely loose. That was the most disappointing thing. We ran the ball pretty effectively. The fourth-and-1 was 100 percent on our tight end. The offensive line did a really good job right there. Our tight end just doesn't block the c-gap. The guy runs right through and hits us in the backfield. We're lucky we didn't fumble it. The guys up front really knocked them off the ball. They're going to get better.

Is playing as many freshman as you are on defense somewhat attributable to the tackling issues? Are you having as much trouble with the veterans?
Swinney: A little bit of both. Jonathan Meeks is a guy that we consider a veteran. He didn't tackle very well yesterday. He played a pretty good game, outside of about three or four tackles. We've got some young guys as well that have just got to keep playing themselves into the kind of players we want them to be. It's two weeks in a row. Really, last week, we didn't have a lot of missed tackles, just a couple of glaring ones. Yesterday, we had more. That was probably the most disappointing thing. We had some guys out yesterday. We were pretty thin in the secondary, and we got exposed a little bit there.


Rashard Hall missed the Wofford game because of a knee injury, but could be back for Auburn. (Roy Philpott)
How much did you missed Carlton Lewis and Xavier Meeks?
Swinney: We missed Rashard Hall, Lewis and Brewer quite a bit. We thought Carlton played a very good game this first game and got some experience. Of course Rashard Hall is a starter, same thing with Brewer. You take those guys off the field, you look up and you've got a walk-on out there, a few freshmen. I thought our one senior played pretty good. Coty Sensabaugh was fairly solid all day.

Any injuries to speak of? It looked like Tony Steward limped off late?
Swinney: I think he's OK. He looked fine today. Demont Buice had a mild concussion. He might be day-to-day. Andre Branch had a separation in his thumb. Nothing's broken or anything like that. He should be fine. That's probably the biggest two. The rest of them are your typical post-game type stuff.

Are you satisfied with the pace on offense?
Swinney: At times, yes. At times, it's been pretty good. We're still a work in progress. We're still not consistent like we need to be.

Still looking to get Rashard Hall back this week?
Swinney: He's going to definitely try to play. We almost put in the game Saturday. He'll practice all week. Hopefully he'll have a good week of practice and he'll play well. He should definitely be back.


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