Swinney closes the book on State

CLEMSON - On Thursday, head coach Dabo Swinney said Sammy Watkins will be a game time decision and Brandon Thomas will start at left tackle against N.C. State.


Opening statement...
Swinney: It was a good week of practice. This is a tough team we're getting ready to play. Those guys are playing really, really good defensively. The more I watch them on tape, the more impressed I am with them. They're very capable. But I like our focus. For us, it's just a matter of execution, taking care of the football and getting back to doing the fundamental things that we've done the great majority of the year. The last couple of ball games we've been very charitable. I want to be charitable by taking them toys and dropping them off at the gate. That's where it needs to stop this weekend.

What has Tajh shown you in practice this week that would lead you to believe he's gotten over those ills?
Swinney: To be honest with you, he's practiced great the last couple of weeks. He's just made a couple of bad decisions in the ball game. He's just got to take what's there. He's been really focused in his meetings and practice. Just have to go play the game and react to what we're getting. Don't force things. Be disciplined with the ball.

Sammy still a game time decision?
Swinney: Yes. He'll dress. We'll watch him in pregame, see how he is. He would definitely be playing this week, for sure 100 percent, if we were playing the championship game. It could be one of those situations where we have him ready and see how we're doing. Hold him, hold him. If not, let him roll. That's really going to be something that we have to decide Saturday.

How did he look today?
Swinney: Good. The last couple of days, his range of motion has been better. He's moving around well. It's just a matter of getting hit on. We haven't let him get hit.

Will Spencer Benton kick this week?
Swinney: Yes. We'll give him another shot. Hopefully he'll be a little more consistent than he was last week.

What's your assessment of how Brandon Thomas did at left tackle this week?
Swinney: He did good. He did fine in the game the other day. It's just that Phillip [Price] is kind of his security blanket out there. Phillip's a really smart player. He and Landon [Walker], Dalton [Freeman], are pretty sharp. [Price] has kind of been that calming force over there on that left side. All of a sudden he's gone, Brandon's playing tackle. He missed a couple of things that hurt us. It wasn't effort or anything like that. He did fine. Now that he's had a whole week to practice -- David [Smith] has also worked at tackle -- he'll be fine.

How were the reps split at tackle?
Swinney: Mostly Brandon and David at left guard. David would be our next guy. We made sure we got some reps for him.

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