Swinney: Proud of our team and how they responded last week in getting back on track in the win at Maryland. Another challenge this week on the road at Virginia. It's a place where most of our guys have never been. I have a lot of respect for Coach London and his staff. I know their record but this is a talented team that has played one of the most difficult schedules in the country. They beat BYU earlier this year so we know they are capable.
Offensively, they are multiple. They have a huge offensive line and huge tight ends. They play a bunch of wide outs and their running back is fourth in the league in rushing. He's also the second-leading receiver on the team. We know him pretty well because we recruited him a little bit.
Really impressed with the quarterback. He threw for 370 something yards last week. He's an athletic runner. Very impressed it with him.
Defensively, they've had a lot of injuries. They are getting some of those guys back this week. The other thing is they are very young. We are going to have to play well and handle what they do. I'm familar with a bunch of their coaches.
Their linebacker, No. 44 is as good as you'll see in the conference. Their biggest defensive lineman, No. 99 has been hurt. Not sure if he will be back this week. No. 7, has a great future in this league. And then they have the interception leader sitting back there at safety.
For us it's the same old deal. Biggest game of the year. We are trying to get to 8-1 headed to the open date. It's a big challenge because we know we will get their best effort. No doubt about it and we expect it.
The big thing for us as we head into November is for us to continue to find ways to win games. I hope we haven't played our best football in September and October. The team that plays the best football - everybody is jockeying for position. We have a chance to have a special season and that's our goal.
Is there any chance you'll be limited with any of your regular starters?
Swinney: No. We expect everybody to be ready to roll.
What's the level of concern you have inside your tackles?
Swinney: I don't have very much concern. I think we just rushed the ball for 250 yards at another team's place at a place that had only given up 125 yards per game. We are a little bit off with where we were last year. A little bit. But our passing is up a little. I know we are little bit off at times but we are 7-1 and those guys have done a lot of good things. Ryan Norton didn't play his best game last week but got a little banged up early. Shatley has been tremendous. [David] Beasley has been on and off a far as being hurt and coming back. And then Kalon Davis. We have been hopeful he would emerge and it's been good seeing him and David battle. And then Brandon Thomas has been outstanding. I know this football team. I know what we've done good and what we've done bad. We aren't great but we aren't 7-1 without having good play up front.
Chad Morris yesterday he has to have to No. 10 running the football in this style of offense. You agree with that I would assume?
Swinney: That's what we do. That's our philosophy. We are going to run the football. I believe it is a distinct advantage when you have a quarterback who can run the football. Our quarterback is a weapon. It's what we do. If our quarterback can't run the football, it's kind of a moot point with our system. Our running backs are always going to lead us in rushing and we are going to get back to having All-American running backs here. That's going to happen.
The turnovers - are you seeing those in practice?
Swinney: We've practiced really well. In fact, we've probably had the best two weeks of practices we've had all year. We work on it. Some of it has been poor fundamentals. You know Tajh had a busted play in the Florida State game. Sammy is fighting for yards in a pile and has good ball security and their guy just rips it out. It's one of those deals. My experience has been that it's contagious. Hopefully we can get through that. Our defense has been better in every area though. And that's why we are 7-1. That's how we've been able to overcome those turnovers. We have to clean up some things. People always want to talk about the negative but we are doing a lot of good things. There are a lot of good things happening with this team. We always want to get better. Nobody's perfect. But our best football is in front of us.
How impressed were you with Sammy Watkins last week?
Swinney: He reminded me of C.J. Spiller when he returned that kick up there. He's having a great year. He's dialed in. He's focused. He catches the ball really well. He stepped up for us in a really big way. I think he had 150-plus yards after the catch. Big night for him. Proud of him. Broke Nuk's record for catches. He's got a chance to break Aaron Kelly's record and he's only played three years. He's been able to develop the continuity and consistency this year.
You said last night you have turn off the ESPN broadcast because it seemed like you were down 39. How do you handle that criticism?
Swinney: Usually about 9 o'clock or 10 o'clock Sunday night I'll put in the play back. It was real negative. I turned it down. I tell my players all the time, don't let anybody walk through your mind with dirty feet. Just negative. It really doesn't matter though. It has nothing to do with me nor our football team. We just try to find ways to win games.
Working Jordan Leggett into the game plan more - is that something that's in the works?
Swinney: He's got to practice the right way. He's got have a sense of urgency that you have to have at this level. The biggest thing with Jordan was when he got hurt it really set him back mentally. He was hungry this spring but when he missed time it set him back. I now everybody is down on Stanton Seckinger right now but he's just a sophomore. He's going to be great. He's just young and needs to grow up. We have some of the best young tight ends in the country here. [J.J.] McCullough has practiced as well as he ever has since he's been here the last couple of weeks. Y'all write it down because in a few years we will have some of the best tight ends in the country. We have to have the tight end in our system. We haven't had that dominant tight end this year but we will. I love our guys. We are going to get there.
There was a report yesterday about Vic Beasley perhaps turning pro after this season? And of course, Sammy could too. Does that concern you?
Swinney: I don't worry about that stuff. I hope the Dallas Cowboys are lined up ready to take them all in the top 10. Sammy Watkins is a top 10 pick. But who knows? I didn't think C.J. Spiller was coming back. I'm worried about beating Virginia. But as far worried about players turning pro here in October. No. I'm not.
How do you get players to refocus, like Jordan Leggett, when they lose it?
Swinney: We coach 'em hard. If they don't respond then they don't play. It's that simple. The greatest motivator is that sideline. Doesn't matter how talented you are. Our best players are our hardest workers. Come watch Grady Jarrett practice. Sammy Watkins. Hot Rod. Those guys set the standard. Guys have to practice the right way if they are going to play.
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