Dabo previews Boston College

CLEMSON - Head coach Dabo Swinney previews No. 3 Clemson's annual grudge match with Boston College.

Opening statement...
Swinney: Good to be back home this week. Want to get back in the Valley. Boston College is a very tough challenge for us. They are 3-2. They are playing with a lot of confidence on both sides of the ball. Had a tough loss going across the country at Southern Cal. They had a very tough game, that was a lot closer than the 14 point score. Lot of confidence. Huge challenge for us.

Offensively, they have nine starters back. They snap it about 61 times a game. Their quarterback is a guy we are very familiar with. Very good player. Very efficient and smart. Manages the game for them and makes good decisions. Their offensive line - when you think of Boston College- is exactly what you think. They like to run the power and the counter. They have a bunch of a tight ends and fullbacks. Bunch of tight ends and sets. Really present some problems and you have be sound.

Their receivers, everybody talks about No. 83 and rightfully so. He killed us last year. Had almost 200 yards on us. He should be very confident playing against us. Their running back - leads the nation in rushing. He's the heart and soul with what they do. Very very good player. As tough as a guy as we are going to play. We have to tackle him.

The biggest thing is handling all their formations and their movements. Being B-gap sound. Our secondary has to get involved as far as being able to stop the run.

Defensively everybody is back. They have 16 sacks- one of the best in the league at sacking the quarterback. No. 91 is as good as anybody we've played. He didn't play against us last year because he was hurt. He's a really really good player. Very good player. No. 96 is another good player. Their two ends are active. Two physical guys inside.

B.C. always has very good linebackers. They have two of the top tacklers in the ACC. They've got two starters back in the backend. They are also different this year in their philosophy. It's a four-man front, but a lot more pressure than what we've seen in the past. Very unorthodox looks in the secondary. They do some very different things.

Again, big challenge - their punt return guys average about 16 yards per return. We are going to have to match their physicality. We have to play well.

Look forward to the challenge. Excited to be back in the Valley. Looking forward to getting after it.

Their running back and his success this season - is there a concern with gap control with your defense?
Swinney: No. Not really. The issues we've had are very correctable. We will always have mistakes. Wish we could have goose eggs every week and make every tackle but other teams have good players too. We aren't perfect coaches and we aren't perfect players. The mistakes are very correctable. On defense when you make a critical mistake you pay for it. Defensively I'm very encouraged. We are a totally different team defensively than we were this time last year (at Boston College). We will be fine. As long as we continue to improve.

Is this as good a defensive line as you've had since you've been here?
Swinney: We'll see. We've had some really good groups. We've had some good defensive lines in my 11 seasons here. This is the deepest for sure. In 2009 and 2010 we were really good. 2011 our first group was good. I think it's the deepest group. The most talented group. And the most experienced group. First time we've had all three of those things in the right order. We'll see.

Grady Jarrett has been very good for you. What's he done so well?
Swinney: Probably biggest improvement in the defensive line is that people now know some of their names. I did a radio show with Eddie George and he travels around and he's talking about Tajh Boyd. I asked him if he could name one defensive linemen. He couldn't. Not one guy. On our entire defense. Nobody knew who they are. Now they do. That's the first time anybody talks about Grady. Everybody knows Vic (Beasley) now. He's got nicknames. They are a blue collar bunch that is very unselfish. They take a lot of pride in what they do. But Grady is the heart and soul of their defense. Relentless in his preparation. Relentless in his effort. He made a play in the game the other night, and we stopped the tape, the quarterback got loose and scrambled, Grady got cut, flies around and throws his body to make this tackle. That's Grady Jarrett. He's that way everyday. Plays with a chip on his shoulder. He's really become a great leader for us.

Vic Beasley- he's got some different moves this year doesn't he?
Swinney: Confidence. Experience. Development. He got serious about it. He had a little bit of success. It's amazing what a little bit of success will do for somebody. That's the best part of my job. Seeing a young person mature, develop and recognize his potential. It's better than any pay check. Any win. Anything. He's figure the game out. Figured life out. That never gets old. He's captain this week. He had some success last year and bought in. Marion Hobby has done a great job. He's as good as a coach as we've had on this staff and as good as you'll find in the country. The big thing with Vic is he used to be a third down guy. Now he's an every down guy. He's really disruptive in the run game just as much as he is in the passing game. He's got great length. And his quickness and athleticism make him special.

What would make a qualified candidate to be on the college football playoff selection committee?
Swinney: Tim Bourret gets my vote. Then you can count on Notre Dame being in the top four. That's the only problem with that. Somebody that pays attention to the game. Knows the game. Studies it. Knows their stuff. Is passionate about getting it right. Personally, I never understood why we didn't keep what we had. The BCS. Here's the top four in the BCS and roll with that. Keep the people out of it. I like a lot of the people they got on there. Would love to be a fly on that wall when you get down to it. We'll see.

Do you have to be a coach or player to be on it?
Swinney: No. No. You definitely need to have a mixture. Heck Chad Morris didn't play college ball and he's a pretty good coach. That stuff is a little overrated. If you are passionate about something and you study it and you do your research, you know what you are talking about. Excited Dan Radakovich is on it. He's got a great skill set for it.

How do you keep your focus on Boston College?
Swinney: It's all we watch and see on tape. You turn the tape on and they get your attention. They've been on the road already. If you don't play well, you'll get beat. Listen, this is the biggest game of the year. If you don't play well in this game, Florida State isn't the story next Monday. It's the biggest game of the year every single week. We have about 40 work days left for our players. That's taking off Sundays. In those 40 work days- that's going to determine this team's legacy. This team's post-season. And on and on and on. Fix your eyes on

How can your safeties improve these next couple of weeks?
Swinney: Well we've missed some tackles. But we've gotten better from week to week. The big issue is creating the depth. We've got to tackle better. Make sure we are taking proper angles. We are playing sound at that position. But we have to be physically executing a little bit better. The No. 1 thing is the depth. We've got to develop more depth.

What are the updates on Travis Blanks, Ben Boulware, Carlos Watkins and Martin Jenkins?
Swinney: Travis looked really good yesterday. I'm starting to get more hopeful about him. He ran great. Today we will have him do some cutting. Planting and cutting. Looked good this morning. Very encouraged. Ben Boulware is still a little sore. Martin Jenkins - I expect him to be ready to go. Just a matter of what kind of swelling he picked up as a result of that surgery. He had that yesterday. Travis I'm more optimistic. Ben is questionable. Carlos Watkins is still out. The biggest thing with Carlos, structurally he's fine. He picked up a massive bruise on both legs. They are trying to drain all that blood out of there so it improves his mobility. But he's not ready to stick his hand in the ground and go play football.

Can you discuss what jumping out quickly has done for you these last couple of games?
Swinney: Allows us to set the tempo. Do what we want to do. Especially on the road. Executed at a high level. Knew there would be some rough patches going into it. I was anxious to see if they were going to play us like their previous opponents. We knew if we could get going early there would be the opportunity for big plays.

With Spencer Shuey's toe injury, does he just sit ?
Swinney: It's kind of like what Spiller had. He's usually a little sore on Sunday. But it does get better through the year. He was better this Sunday than he was last Sunday.

Have you ever had a player tell you in pregame warmups that he won't be able to play?
Swinney: No.

What would do if that happened?
Swinney: I'm going to take the next question. I hope that never happens. I'm usually pretty in-tune with the injury report. On the same page with the trainers.

What has Tajh meant to this program with the way he conducts himself on and off the field?
Swinney: Priceless. He's special. We are going to miss him when he's gone. He takes such great pride in his preparation. He's like another coach. He loves it. He does a lot of things people don't see. He's very humble. Easy to talk to. He goes out of his way to talk to you. No sense of entitlement. He loves being the star quarterback at Clemson. Smiles everyday. He was special when he got here at 18. And he's really really special now. He's not perfect. But when he's made mistakes he's taken ownership of them. That's what leaders do.

CUTigers.com Top Stories