Sunday teleconference news, notes

Head coach Dabo Swinney reviews Saturday night's tombstone win over Virginia Tech, updates the status of Spencer Benton and talks about Lateek Townsend.

The following is an edited transcript of Sunday's interview with Swinney...

Now that you're ranked No. 8 in both polls, do you downplay the rankings?
Swinney: We don't even discuss rankings. We don't even talk about that stuff. As I've said a couple of times, when we first came into the rankings a couple of weeks ago, ask me in December and I'll have a comment. Same thing for our team. All we are is 5-0. You go lay an egg this week, people forget about that real quick. We've just got to keep moving forward and keep our eyes on the task at hand, and continue to stay committed to what we're doing. These guys have been doing a good job of that. That stuff means nothing. Again, you can fall a whole lot quicker than you can climb. We're trying to win this game. Come December, we'll see where we are. Right now, those rankings don't mean anything.

You've talked a lot about this schedule. How do you get the team refocused for a Boston College team that's struggled a little bit?
Swinney: Same thing we've kept them focused on since the start of the season -- don't listen to all the negativity out there. Tell them what you are, what you aren't, what you can do and what you can't do. All that's irrelavant noise. You don't pay attention to the positive. Suddenly, the bandwagon is full and they're telling you you're good. None of that stuff matters. You can't allow that stuff to affect your performance, good or bad, and just stay focused on what we're doing as a team. Here's what we do on Monday, here's what we do on Tuesday, just continue to do that. I told the team I've been kind of preparing them for this all season. I told them before the season, I really felt like we were on the verge of great things at Clemson. At some point, we're going to have success. It's going to be important how you handle it. I think our guys have done a good job, so far. We'll have to keep pounding away with that message. The leadership has to step forward and help keep these guys focused. Our leadership has done a great job. Two things that are often under-rated on football teams -- chemistry and leadership -- we have good chemistry and very good leadership. That's a big, big reason why we're 5-0 right now."

Can you talk about the reception you got when you got home?
Swinney: It was unbelievable. I've never seen anything like that. I don't know how many people were here, but there were at least 1,000. It was awesome. At 2:30, 3 o'clock in the morning, whenever it was, to see our fans like that, it was special. That's something I'll never forget. That's what it's all about. That's what makes Clemson awesome. Our fans deserve it. Our fans deserve to have a winning football team. I'm just happy to be a part of it, very thankful for the support they showed last night. I'm very humbled by it. I know our team was as well.

How are Meeks, Breeland and Benton? And anybody else that go nicked up last night?
Swinney: [Spencer] Benton does not look good. We'll get a little bit more confirmation tomorrow. He does not look good. It's a shoulder. [Bashaud] Breeland looked pretty good today. He'll probably be out tomorrow. Danny Poole, our trainer, he thinks he might be back on Tuesday, based on how he looked today. You just never know. You've got to go through that process. [Jonathan] Meeks looks like he's going to be all right. We've got some bumps and bruises, but it's nothing that looks like it will keep him out of the game, or anything like that. We had a couple, two or three, bruised thighs -- guys banged up. This has really been a tough stretch. We've got another really physical football team that you've got to get ready for this week. We've got to just keep getting guys well and keep building some depth.

Did Benton get hurt trying to make a tackle?
Swinney: Yea, he got jacked up.

Will Chandler Catanzaro be your kickoff guy if Benton's not able to bounce back?
Swinney: We'll find out this week. It's been Dawson [Zimmerman] that's been our backup kickoff guy. We'll look at it this week and try to make a decision, based on how they do in practice. Dawson wasn't quite ready for that -- we didn't think -- the other night. Catanzaro really has not really practiced at all on kickoffs since camp. We'll have to address it and make a decision which way we're going to go."

Can you talk about the decision to play Lateek Townsend, and the thought process behind that?
Swinney: We've just been talking about that. He's a physically talented guy, and we felt like he could help us in the special teams. We just made the decision to go ahead and play him, and just try to get him grown up a little bit this year. We just think he's going to be a heck of a player. You can win a game on special teams, and that might be his main role this year. We felt like he could make a difference for us, and he goes out and has a good tackle last night. Hopefully, that'll be something you'll see him continue to grow in, as far as other teams as well, being mixed in a little more. We also felt like he could, at some point this year, he might could be a guy that could help us, from a pass rush standpoint. That's how we made the decision.

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