Dabo previews Maryland

CLEMSON - Head coach Dabo Swinney previews Clemson's matchup with Maryland.

Opening statement...
Swinney: Big challenge this week getting back at it with a road trip up to Maryland. The big thing about Maryland is they are 5-2, and they are having a good season. They've got this thing going in the right direction. They are coming off a tough loss in their last game and we didn't either. They are undefeated at home and we know how tough of a place that is to win. Couple of years ago we needed a great comeback to win. Just like I tell our guys every week, when we come to down we are going to get a great crowd and a great effort.

It's a little bit of a challenge focusing on those guys because of injuries. We don't know who is playing where and who is doing what because they've lost key guys with their team. Schematically, we see who they are, but they have new guys. We don't know who they are starting at running back and at quarterback. There are guys maybe coming back on defense, maybe not.

Defensively, it's a good scheme. They are giving up less than 120 yards rushing. Less than 4 yards per carry.

Offensively, No. 16 is a good quarterback. No. 7 came in and got the win against Virginia. Two good running backs. Some questions at the wide out position as they lost two really good players there last week.

Good punter. Good kicker. One of the better return guys in the league with a corner who does a great job.

The biggest thing is us being Clemson. Our guys are eager to play again. That's a good sign. Anytime you lose a game, you wish you could play again tomorrow. We have to wait a whole week to prove we are better than we were the last time out.

A big opportunity for us to get our seventh win. And a chance for us to pick up our seventh win on the road in a row. That would be the longest streak in 35 years here.

I'm proud of our team in how we have responded. Everybody is being accountable. We have to take great pride in preparation.

Ball security has been an issue the last two weeks. What are you doing to correct it?
Swinney: Let's major in the minors this week. Stance. Starts. Footwork. Ball-handling. Let's treat them like they don't know anything. Let's major in the minors. Sometimes that's something you have to do. We have a lot of guys who know a lot of football offensively. And sometimes you overlook the little things. We have to score in the red zone. We have to be the kind of third down team that I know we are. Let's be fundamentally sound. We have to get 11 guys (on the same page). I wish it was just one guy. But none of that matters if you don't take care of the football. We've had a bad little run here the last few ball games. But the last one, we can't give anybody the ball four times and expect to win. Certainly not a team like Florida State.

Do you look more closely at position battles on offense this week?
Swinney: I think that's a little over the top. That's a coordinator that takes a lot pride in his peformance. Brandon Thomas has played really good football. Ryan Norton has played really well for us. Stanton Seckinger has had a good year for us. You know what, he had a bad night the other night. We all have bad nights. Sammy Watkins played good the other night. We have a lot of guys doing good things, it's not all bad. You guys know how Chad is- he takes a lot of pride. And we haven't had the consistency. We've had injuries. Our quarterback has been a little inconsistent at times. We are still one of the best offenses in the country. We are 17-3 in our last 20 ball games. So we've won a bunch of games and we'll get it fixed. For me it's about getting back to the basics, the fundamentals. Heck against B.C. we put the ball on the ground three times with the exchange.

Does it concern you your running backs aren't finding the end zone when you get in the red zone?
Swinney: I think we aren't doing a good job in the red zone period. It's a combination of things. I don't care who scores. I just want to score. That's what we've been really really good. Last year we led the nation in red zone scoring. We aren't playing intelligent right now, offensively. That should be a competitive advantage for us. We have to go back and retool those guys. We've been doing a lot of calculus, lets go back and do some (basic) arithmetic. This is a hurt football team. But we are going to be okay because they care. We are going to be ok.

Is Florida State that much better than you thought after you've seen them in person?
Swinney: No. I thought they were a great football team. I think if we were a team if we played them 10 times we'd probably win five and they would win five. They played a heckuva game. We didn't give ourselves a chance. Didn't give our fans a chance. You can't even really assess it. They have some areas in which they are ahead of us but we are going to catchup. They aren't that much better than us and we certainly aren't that bad. As I said before the game they maybe the best team in the country. And they maybe. We are similar programs. But it wasn't our night. And you have to give them all the credit.

Was it disappointing you never had a second receiver emerge Saturday?
Swinney: Well you can't really put that all on the receiver. Style of play. The way the game went. I think if it was a normal type of situation things would have been difference. Schmatically things changed a bit from a coverage standpoint. Missed opportunities. And our quarterback didn't play very good. It was bad. It was bad as coaches. But you go back to work. You learn. We have to play tougher, smarter. And we have to take care of the football if we are going to be a great team.

What will the reps look like at cornerback?
Swinney: Cordrea will get some looks at corner. I'm excited about that. With Peters out for another game and I expect him back by the time we play Georgia Tech. He thinks he's playing next week but I doubt it. With him out and Breeland out for a half will have Cordrea in there. He's long, can run. Another young guy who will get an opportunity. Martin [Jenkins] will slide in.

Is it tough to refocus after the talk leading up to FSU?
Swinney: That's the maturity of your team. We've got some experience in our junior and senior group. You want everybody to be disappointed. You don't want people to be happy. But at the end of the day it's just one loss. You have focus on what can be. And there's a long list of things of what we can be. At the end of the day we are a top 10 football team. We've been consistent. And the reason is they get it. They've handled success good and when we've had setbacks we've handled that good. We've won top 10 matchup kind of games. We've lost some. I'm proud of our guys. That was our fourth top 10 game in our last nine games. I don't have any reason to think we won't bounce back.

When you sense a player is tight- how you handle that?
Swinney: Just coach 'em. You address it and try to refocus them in practice. You have to create situations in practice to regain his confidence. Like a Seckinger. He's had a great year for us but had a bad game. You show him the good things to.

Last year you had a lot of seasoned offensive playmakers available
Swinney: It hurt us losing Charone. He wasn't very good as a freshman. I see T.J. Green like Charone as a freshman. He made big strides last year and he was poised to have a big year. It definitely hurt. He's the fastest guy we have on the team. It's been a little bit of an issue. Really pleased with Mike Williams. He had his worst game the other night he just froze up in a couple of situations the other night. Maybe if you have Charone Peake it would be a little bit of a different situation. If you had one more guy you could throw in the mix it would help you. But everybody has injuries. Maryland lost their two corners. Their top two wide outs. No. 51 on defense. But that's no excuse, we have everything we need to be the top offense in the country.

You mentioned that Kevin Dodd and Carlos Watkins could redshirt last night on your radio show. Can you talk more about that?
Swinney: Dodd played in the first four games and he's been out with a toe issue. We've talked about trying to redshirt him. He's probably going to be out again this week. It's difficult to be able to plant and run. He's a really talented player who's missed most of this year. Hurts a little bit depth-wise now but it could payoff later. Carlos is much better now but he's still got a pretty good size (bruise) on his left side. He's only played in three games and here we are going into game eight. If he's out for just another game then we plan on playing him, but if he's going to miss two or three more games, why just bring him back for the bowl game? A lot

Just curious on your thoughts - there were reports that Tajh Boyd was gambling and had accumulated more than $80K in debt?
Swinney: I heard about that. That just added to my beautiful Sunday. I have no knowledge of that nor do I think there is any credibility to that. I spoke to Tajh about it and just shook his head. I have no reason not to believe Tajh Boyd. I'm sure that was a credible web site. That's the world we live in unfortunately. Anybody can say whatever they want. I don't have any knowledge or evidence that there's any factual evidence regarding that article. "No way coach," and he shook his head. I have no reason to think he would lie to me. He never has.


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