Dabo teleconference news, notes

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney talks about the Georgia Tech game, this week's bye and what's next for the Tigers.

The following is an edited transcript of Monday's teleconference with Swinney.

Opening statement...
Swinney: This is obviously a difficult loss that we're coming off. Disappointed in how we played. Again, have to give Georgia Tech a lot of credit for that. But just too many mistakes on our part -- turnovers, big plays, penalties, critical errors, some really critical missed opportunities we had to get back in it. Just did not execute our plan to win, that's for sure. We had been doing that all year. It's a great lesson for our time. Look at why we've been successful, then, all of a sudden, we kind of went the other way. It's not a surprise that we lost.

We're a good team, but anybody can beat us, and we're capable of beating anybody. But we have to execute our plan to win. We just had too many guys not play to our standard and get their job done in critical situations. We've got to learn from it, grow from it.

There were some positives in the game. We did win the second half. Again, just too far down, and the clock was against us. I did like how we competed. They certainly did not give up. That was very evident with the turnover that we got on the goal line, and then went 97 yards for a touchdown. You're always looking for something positive in a game like that. There are some definite positives in the game that we can point out.

We've got to put this one behind us, grow and learn from it and get everybody re-focused. We're having a very good year, so far. All of our goals are still there. We're four quarters away from another Atlantic Division title and getting a ninth win. That's what we've got to focus on.

Thoughts on D.J. Howard and Mike Bellamy...
Swinney: They're going to be good players. They're just young guys. It was a tough night for them both. They put the ball on the ground, and they've got to grow out of that. It's disappointing. Both of them did some good things, and both of them have done some good things throughout the season. Two young players getting a big opportunity to step up. The two turnovers were costly, and both of them were fundamental.

What's your sense of how soon the guys will be able to flush what happened Saturday night?
Swinney: They've got to flush it today. They come in here this afternoon. They were off yesterday, so we'll get them in here at 3 o'clock with the seniors and 3:15 with the team -- got to flush it then. We'll talk about the mistakes, study the tape. When we go out on the practice field, we move on. It's one game. We're having a really good year. Obviously, you want to win them all. I don't know how many people out there thought we'd be 9-0 right now. We certainly could have played a little better, and might of had a chance to be. The reality is, we're 8-1.

"Every goal hanging on our wall is still in front of us. That's what our focus has been and has to continue to be."

Every goal hanging on our wall is still in front of us. That's what our focus has been and has to continue to be. We're four quarters away from being the division champs, and getting a sixth win in this conference with an opportunity from getting a seventh win if we can't take care of our business. That's something that hasn't been done here in a long, long time. There are a lot of firsts this year, and we still have a lot left out there. That's what we have to focus on.

It's just like if you win a game, it's no different. If you lose a game, you've got to put it in the rear view mirror. You grow and learn from it, whether you win or lose. You move forward to the next game. That's what our jobs as coaches is to do, get them dialed back in. That's what we'll do today.

What's the condition of Andre's ankle right now?
Swinney: Pretty good. He'll be rocking and rolling by the time we play Wake Forest. We'll really take good care of him this week and continue to get him 100 percent. That's just the blessing of having this open date, because he's got plenty of time to get well. All these guys, we've got a bunch of bangs and bruises, sore spots -- all that kind of stuff, just the toll of 13 weeks of hitting on each other takes on you. Andre will be ready to roll. They'll all be ready to roll.

Where the Georgia Tech offense was successful?
Swinney: The sad part about it, we had about four guys really hurt us, just didn't do their job. That's disappointing. We played about 15 guys or so, but 10 or 11 of them really did a great job, really did some good things that doesn't show up. When you're playing in a game like that, everybody's got to do their job. We had 10 or 11 that really played well, but we had four or five that did not, just didn't do their job.

I'm not calling guys out, because that's our job as coaches, to get it right. They did some thing where we were a little undisciplined. As a result, they were able to exploit us in a couple of areas.

The other part was the big plays. That's the difference in the game from last year. Last year, they couldn't get any big plays on us. Whereas this year, they had four or five big plays that cost us. That was the difference in the game.

Andre Ellington will have plenty of time to rest his injured ankle. (Roy Philpott)
Lack of offensive rhythm early on...
Swinney: We just did not do a good job of working withe each other. We worked against each other most of the night, as a team. Defense didn't get the stops that we needed. The offense had turnovers. That's a double-edge sword right there. We just didn't work together...it was just one of those games. We had been working together so well all year long. We didn't do that.

Offensively, we did not play our best game, but all the mistakes are very correctable. It's really us being dialed in and doing what we're supposed to do, certainly things we can fix.

To read more from Monday afternoon's teleconference with Swinney, visit the CUTigers.com premium message board The Valley:


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